Major League Baseball's offseason is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You're either selling wins or you're selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team's farm system.
Of course, that doesn't mean every team has an equally good farm system -- some, as you'll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next few weeks examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define "prospects" as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is missing that's likely why.
These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There's also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it's fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future. You can check out our winter top 20 list by clicking here.
With that in mind, let's get to it by dissecting the Milwaukee Brewers.
1. Jackson Chourio, OF, No. 4 on top 20 (2023 seasonal age: 19)
Chourio was the breakout star of the minor-league season in 2022. Despite playing the entire campaign as an 18-year-old, he hit .288/.342/.538 with 20 home runs and 16 stolen bases split across three levels, including a cameo at Double-A. Chourio is a fantastic athlete with a dynamic (and well-above-average) power-speed combination who should have more room to add muscle to his frame as he matures. He did strike out in more than 26 percent of his plate appearances, though it's easy to forgive him for that based on his youth; he was four years younger than his average opponent in High-A, and six years younger in Double-A. There's a strong chance Chourio ends the year ranked as the best prospect in the game -- provided, of course, he hasn't forced the Brewers to push him along to the majors by then.
2. Sal Frelick, OF (2023 seasonal age: 23)
Frelick, Milwaukee's first-round pick in 2021, should make his big-league debut early in 2023. He's a speedy, contact-tailored hitter who walked more than he struck out last season in 46 games at Triple-A. Frelick has more pop than you'd expect from someone with his frame (he's listed at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds), but power is unlikely to ever be a big part of his game. By the time he makes it to the majors, Frelick could find himself in left field out of deference to either Garrett Mitchell, who debuted last season, or the aforementioned Chourio.
3. Joey Wiemer, OF (2023 seasonal age: 24)
Wiemer looks like a great find by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. He split last season between Double- and Triple-A, hitting .256/.336/.465 with 21 home runs and 31 stolen bases. Wiemer can slug and he can run, but can he make contact consistently enough for it to matter? That's the question that will be facing him until he provides an answer in the majors. To his credit, Wiemer did cut into his strikeout rate after being promoted to Triple-A, from fanning in more than 30 percent of his trips to the plate down to striking out in a more manageable 19.5 percent of his plate appearances. The Brewers, if you haven't noticed, are rich with talented young outfielders; Wiemer is also likely to debut in 2023.