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Teen Signs $82 Million Contract Before Playing a Day of Big-League Baseball

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Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio responds to questions following a news conference at the MLB winter meetings Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, (AP/ George Walker IV)
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Before taking a single swing in the major leagues, Jackson Chourio landed the type of contract players spend years dreaming about.

“I’m definitely going to meet the expectations,” the 19-year-old outfielder said Monday after the Milwaukee Brewers finalized an $82 million, eight-year deal, the most money guaranteed to a player with no big league experience.

“There’s definitely a little bit of pressure on this, but I’m just going to work really hard,” Chourio said through a translator. “This money is not going to change me. If something changes, it definitely will be for the better.”

Chourio has played only six games above Double-A. His agreement topped the previous high for a player with no big league experience — excluding Japanese professionals — set when outfielder Luis Robert signed a $50 million, six-year contract with the Chicago White Sox on Jan. 2, 2020, ahead of his debut on July 24 of that year

“It’s not just about us. It’s about him as well and securing his future, partnering together with somebody that is really special,” Brewers general manager Matt Arnold said. “And so when you have an agreement like that, it’s a great day for everybody involved.”

Chourio is regarded as among baseball’s top prospects. Although he doesn’t turn 20 until March 11, Chourio has advanced rapidly enough in the Brewers’ farm system that he played six games for Triple-A Nashville late this past season.

Received $1.8M Bonus at 16

He’s the first player in Brewers franchise history to be selected as the organization’s minor league player of the year twice. Chourio, from Maracaibo, Venezuela, signed for a $1.8 million bonus at age 16 in January 2021.

He batted .283 with a .338 on-base percentage, 22 homers, 91 RBI and 44 steals in 128 combined games with Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville in 2023. He hit .288 with a .342 on-base percentage, 20 homers, 75 RBIs, and 16 steals in 99 combined games with Class A Carolina and Wisconsin, and Biloxi in 2022.

His 18-year-old brother Jaison signed with Cleveland for a $1.2 million bonus in January 2022 and hit .321 with one homer, 25 RBI, and 20 stolen bases with the Arizona Complex League Guardians and Class A Lynchburg.

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