Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Keston Hiura is drawing rave reviews in the Arizona Fall League. When will we see Hiura in a Brewer uniform, and how will this impact decisions the Brewers make this off season?
2018 Minors & Arizona Fall League
Keston Hiura began the 2018 season with the High-A Carolina Mudcats, and in 50 games hit .320 with seven homers. He was then moved up to Double-A Biloxi where he struggled more than he did in High-A, but still hit .272 with six homers in 73 games. Hiura did experience elbow issues as well during 2018.
However, in the Arizona Fall League Hiura ripped the cover off the ball. His average was .333 and came with 32 RBI’s in only 21 appearances. He is one of only a handful of players to hit that many RBIs in the AFL. Emily Waldon, who is a National Prospect Writer for the Athletic, recently tweeted a quote from an American League Scout who said he has the “Purest power bat in Arizona,” as well as “He’s just a special, special kid.” Those type of accolades don’t come around often.
When in the field Hiura plays second base, a position where the Milwaukee Brewers need to make some decisions this off season. Other than second base, Hiura has played DH in the Minors, so moving him into the outfield or to another spot in the infield is unlikely.
The Milwaukee Brewers used several players at the second base last year, and dealt some valuable Minor League talent to acquire second baseman Jonathan Schoop at the trade deadline. As we all know, Schoop did not meet the expectations that the organization and fans had for him.
The Milwaukee Brewers need to decide whether or not to tender Schoop at a possible price tag of around $10 million next year, let him go and find another free agent, or platoon a couple of different players at second base until Hiura is ready to get called up.
Another fly in the ointment is the fact that uber-utility player Hernan Perez, who played second for 230 innings last year, is also a tender/non-tender decision. With each passing day Hiura seems to be making more of case for the wait until he’s ready approach. The issue is, when a team are a World Series contender, waiting can be a difficult thing to do, espedially with a hitter as MLB-ready as Hiura. If the Brewers look to acquire a second baseman or hang on to Schoop, Hiura will spend most of the year at Triple-A. If the team moves on from Schoop and doesn’t add anyone, Hiura could arrive sooner rather than later.