We started this list 15 days ago with Cody Ponce getting our 2019 Milwaukee Brewers Top Prospects list going. We’ve now reached the end of our list with the top prospect in the Brewers system.
The top spot on our Milwaukee Brewers prospects list goes to second baseman Keston Hiura. As if there would be any doubt about it…
With Hiura’s contact ability and high ceiling, he is the unquestioned top prospect in this system. While there may have been some debate about the placement of some of the other prospects, there likely won’t be any opposition to this placement.
#1. 2B Keston Hiura
The 2017 first round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers has shot through the minor leagues. He reached Double-A last year in his first full season in the minor leagues.
There were concerns during the draft that Hiura’s lingering elbow injury would need Tommy John surgery, which played into his fall to the ninth overall pick. But the Brewers believed he wouldn’t need the operation and signed him for slightly less than slot value.
When he started playing games, Hiura showed everyone why he was such a high draft pick. He raked to the tune of a .371/.422/.611 slash line. That’s a 1.033 OPS over 42 games between Rookie ball and Low-A Wisconsin.
2018 was another strong year for Hiura. He started in High-A Carolina and in 50 games, he hit .320/.382/.529 with seven homers. He earned a promotion to Double-A Biloxi mid-season.
With Biloxi, his numbers took a step back, slashing just .272/.339/.416 with the Shuckers. To be fair, Hiura did also deal with a thumb injury with Biloxi and it threw him into a slump for a little bit.
Hiura then raked in the Arizona Fall League, finishing with a .323/.371/.563 slash line with five home runs and 33 RBIs in just 23 games. He earned the AFL MVP award as well.
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Scouts give Hiura a 70-grade on his bat, which is the major reason why Hiura has so much hype and expectations around him. He has the ability to be a .300 hitter in the big leagues and his power is starting to come around as well. He knocked 13 long balls last season and could hit 15-20 a year in the major leagues.
Hiura isn’t seen as a great defender, but he’ll provide average/passable defense at second base. The Milwaukee Brewers aren’t as worried about his defensive marks. As long as he hits close to .300 every year, you’ll take the lumps defensively every time. And with the amount of shifting the Brewers do, his defense may not be as important.
When Will We See Hiura In Milwaukee?
Not on March 28th, that’s for sure. David Stearns has already stated Hiura will start the season in the minor leagues. The rest depends on his spring training performance, his Triple-A performance, and the performance of the major league second base options.
The current plan has Hernan Perez and Cory Spangenberg platooning at second base. Neither of those players are going to block Hiura for any length of time. The one player that could throw a wrench into Hiura’s debut time is Mauricio Dubon.
Dubon figures to get the first opportunity to get the second base job in the big leagues since he’s more big league ready after spending time at Triple-A the past two seasons. Dubon is also a highly touted prospect, although not as highly as Hiura. If Dubon thrives in the big leagues, the Crew can wait on Hiura a little bit longer.
I still expect to see Hiura in Milwaukee in 2019. He’s too good of a hitter to keep down forever. With a bat like that, they’ll find a place for him. We could see Hiura anytime after the Super 2 cutoff date, which is usually somewhere in late May-early June. It’s a floating cutoff date, so no one knows exactly when the date is. But by mid-June, teams generally believe it’s safe to call up their prospects and have them be Super 2 players, which gives the team an extra year of arbitration control on the player. That’s the earliest we could see Hiura.
The Milwaukee Brewers like what they have in Keston Hiura, and when you watch him swing the bat, you can see why. He’s the top prospect in the Brewers system.
Considering Hiura has not played at Triple-A yet, the Brewers have a good excuse to keep Hiura down in the minors until mid-June at the earliest.