Keston Hiura has played exactly 14 games above Double-A, but will he show up in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform soon? Let’s dig into his early returns…
Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Keston Hiura is as close to the Majors as he’s ever been. He’s appeared in 14 games with the San Antonio Mission in Triple-A, and that came after he racked up 52 plate appearances with the Major League team in Spring Training. But how is he doing in his first extended action at baseball’s second highest level?
What are Hiura’s current numbers?
Coming into Thursday, Hiura owned a .291/.304/.646 slash line in 56 plate appearances with the Missions in Triple-A. He’s managed to bash four homers, score eight times, and drive in 11 runs. He’s also played 102 innings at second base for the Missions, and has only one error with 11 double plays turned.
Are there any concerning numbers for Hiura?
Hiura is producing at a high level despite having a 41.1% strikeout rate, and a 1.8% walk rate. He’s striking out in almost half his plate appearances, and has walked exactly once. He struck out at an 18.2% rate in Double-A last year, and that came with a 7.2% walk rate.
It’s really concerning to see a talented hitter like Hiura fail to put the ball in play in over 40% of his plate appearances. It’s still early in the year and Hiura is likely to adjust, but he needs to cut down on the strikeouts, and spray line drives all over the place like he has at every other level.
When will Hiura get the call to the Majors?
It might be a while, actually.
Hiura is clearly the future at second base for the Milwaukee Brewers, but he’s currently blocked by not one, but two players on the Major League roster. Mike Moustakas is the every day starter, and Hernan Perez is off to a solid start. If Moustakas picks up an injury, the team is more likely to give the every day job at second to Perez than call up Hiura.
If Perez gets hurt, the team will likely turn to veteran Cory Spangenberg to pick up the slack on the bench. Hiura needs to play every day, and it makes zero sense to call him up and ask him to sit behind Moustakas.
Hiura can still get a September call up, and that looks like his best route to the Major League roster in 2019. However, there’s a non-zero chance that he could end up as the Day One starter at second base in 2020 for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Hiura will be up soon, but he still has a few areas of his game to tighten up before he’s ready, and the Milwaukee Brewers don’t need him just yet. Both the prospect and the team need to practice patience for now.