In baseball, fans are always trying to find ways to find hope for their franchise. What will be the piece that gets them over the edge and earns them a chance to win the tournament? Sometimes it’s a blockbuster trade or a free agent signing, which is a topic we dived into a few weeks ago. If not, it is the ability to cultivate local talent. Even if the product in the major league stadium is struggling, there is always hope from the farm system.
On Wednesday, Baseball America named righteousness Prospect Jackson Chorio is the #3 prospect in baseball. In honor of the young quarterback who has been recognized as one of the best prospects in sports, we take a look at the five best prospects in Milwaukee Brewers history.
At just 17 years old, Gary Sheffield was creating levels of excitement from the minors that have not been duplicated in Brewers history. At Rookie Ball with the Helena Gold Sox, Sheffield slashed . 365/. 413/. 640 with 15 home runs in 57 games. He had amazing platelet discipline as a teenager, never exceeding 63 strikeouts in a season during his time in the minors. 325 across his time at Rookie Ball, Single-A, and Double-A. At 19, not only was he the top prospect in the Brewers system, he was also the MVP in baseball.
The success Sheffield saw as a prospect translates into a long and successful career as a major leaguer, though not as a Brewer. Called up in 1988, the Sheffield youngster had solid numbers at the plate but struggled on the field. After jumping up and down the minors in 1988, Sheffield played three more seasons as a Brewer, with just one seeing more than 100 action games. A foot injury began friction with management that would continue throughout his time in Milwaukee. He was traded to the Padres in 1992 and would go on to hit 2,689 hits and 509 home runs in his career.
Signed as a 16-year-old for 2020-21 from Venezuela, Jackson Chorio is in the midst of a rapid rise through the Brewers’ minor league systems. In 2022, at just 18 years old, Chorio saw time at Low-A Carolina, High-A Wisconsin, and Double-A Biloxi, hitting a combined. 288 with 20 home runs. As noted at the top, Baseball America named him #3 in baseball on Wednesday, behind two prospects who previously saw time in the major leagues. Chourio, if he continues his high level of play, is well on his way to being the #1 prospect in baseball.
He has great speed and great power to keep up with a large group on the field. Chourio is the only Brewer running back who hasn’t seen time in a Brewers uniform, but the excitement generated so far has fans counting down the days until his Milwaukee debut.
Ricky Weeks was a mainstay in Baseball America’s top 10 prospects in the early 2000s. He was named the eighth best prospect in 2003 before peaking at number 5 in 2004. Second overall pick in 2003 MLB draft He spent three seasons in the minors before becoming a full-time member of the Brewers in 2005. He showed great speed in the minors, collecting 73 extra base hits across three seasons. At the time of his call-up, Weeks chipped 0.320/.435/.655 with an OPS of 1.090 with votes.
Weeks was the first in a string of young stars to take the field for the Brewers. JJ Hardy, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Braun were all high-profile favorites to make Weeks in the Majors between 2005-2007. Of the four future stars of that class of prospects, Weeks was arguably the most popular. He would go on to rock for the Brewers for 11 of his 14 seasons and was a major contributor on two postseason runs.
The only pitcher on this list, he was drafted 10th overall by the Brewers in 1999. Similar to the other players on this list, Sheets’ time in the Brewers farm system was short but effective. At Rookie Ball, the right-hander posted an impressive 10.1 SO/9 average, giving up 31 hits in 35.2 innings. 2000 was his last full season in the minors, as he had a 2.40 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A. 2000 also saw Sheets win a gold medal representing the United States at the Sydney Olympics, which included a complete game lockout to secure the gold.
Entering 2001, Sheets was ranked the #5 player in baseball by Baseball America. He was promoted to the first round later that season, a place he held for eight seasons. He was the single-game record holder for upsets by a Brewer going on to make four All-Star teams and finishing with a career ERA of 3.72.
Peaking as the eighth best player in baseball in 2016 according to Baseball America, Orlando Arcia had all the tools for a major player. He hit the ball well, hitting .307/.347/.453 as a Double-A 21-year-old, earning him MiLB Breakout Prospect of the Year in 2015. He was also an outstanding fielder, winning a Minor League Gold Glove In the same season at shortstop. With great speed, the ability to get on base and flash leather in the middle of the field, the Brewers bred Arica to lead their home field at 21.
The hype around Arcia as a prospect unfortunately hasn’t translated into much success in the league. 300, so even his next-level defense couldn’t make up for his bad hitting. The Brewers traded away their former top prospect in 2021 to Atlanta Braves.