The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the top prospects in all of baseball with second baseman Keston Hiura. However, even with his prospect status at an all-time high, Brewers fans should temper their expectations for the young player.
After a fantastic first full season in the minor leagues, Keston Hiura’s prospect status was rising. Then, after a phenomenal performance in the Arizona Fall League, which earned him the AFL MVP award, his status rose even higher. From what everyone can tell, the Milwaukee Brewers have a future stud on their hands.
Since the Brewers recently non-tendered incumbent second baseman Jonathan Schoop, many have been calling for Keston Hiura to get the call to start 2019 in the big leagues.
However, that will not happen, and GM David Stearns is on record saying so.
By delaying Hiura’s debut, they can keep control over him for a longer period of time. Plus, as Stearns said, he’s yet to have an at-bat in Triple-A yet.
The Hype Is Out Of Control
Even without the calls for a premature promotion for Hiura, the hype surrounding him has gotten expectations a little too high.
Yes, he is known as a good hitter. His bat looks like it will play as he’s destroyed the lower levels of the minor leagues. But prospects are just that, prospects.
He very well could be a great player in the big leagues, but how high should expectations be for him? Should we be expecting a .300 batting average and .850+ OPS his rookie season? Is he a bust if he doesn’t?
Examples of Hype Getting Too High
The most recent and most relevant example to compare Hiura to is former Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. They play the same position, were both Top-10 overall draft picks, and came in with big hype.
Rickie Weeks was seen as a gifted hitter. Here’s an excerpt from Minor League Ball’s John Sickels’ scouting report on Weeks in 2003.
"Offensively, there are no doubts about this one; Weeks is one of the best hitters around. He is a true multi-skilled, multi-tooled player and a joy to watch."
Weeks hit nearly .500 during his college career and was seen as a gifted hitter who could hit for a high average and be a stud for his entire career.
Weeks never hit above .279 in a single season and had a .249 batting average in his 11 year career with the Brewers. So much for no doubts about his bat right?
It might be a little more difficult for Brewers fans to remember Hunter Morris, but let’s look back. Morris was a first base prospect who was going to be the heir to Prince Fielder. In 2012, he hit .303 with 28 homers, 113 RBIs, and a .920 OPS en route to the Southern League MVP award with Double-A Huntsville. Everyone was ready for him to take over.
He was in spring training in 2013 with a chance to earn the starting job at first base with a strong spring. He instead struggled and mentally couldn’t put it together after that. He was sent to Triple-A, continued to struggle, and after a few more struggling campaigns, he was given his release, having never made his major league debut.
Now I’m not saying what happened to Morris will happen to Hiura. I’m just saying that prospects have not panned out before.
Can Keston Hiura Live Up To The Hype?
With the hype currently around him, it’s going to be pretty hard. By the way most people are talking about him, he’s already pegged for the Hall of Fame. He’s viewed as the savior at second base and he will bring this organization to the promised land.
Let’s slow down the roll a little bit. He has the potential to be very good, yes. But so did Rickie Weeks, and he was nothing more than average in the big leagues.
We cannot expect a prospect to become a Hall of Fame level player. That’s just too much and it’s unfair to Hiura. If he doesn’t come in and immediately rake in the big leagues, are fans going to be disappointed with him? Is hitting .280 a disappointing season for a rookie?
He’s still just 22 years old. There shouldn’t be any rush to bring him to the big leagues and start his service clock. Let him continue to develop in Triple-A and in the meantime, we can adjust our expectations on him so that they’re actually something realistically attainable.
The Milwaukee Brewers, by the looks of it, have found a great young player in Hiura. But the hype train needs to slow down.