Our countdown of the Top 50 Milwaukee Brewers players of the previous decade rages on.
Through the first four spots on our countdown of the best Milwaukee Brewers of the 2010s, all have belonged to pitchers. Finally, we reach our first position player.
How We Ranked Them
We created an initial list of the top players by combining their Fangraphs Total WAR from each year they were on the Brewers and ranking them from highest to lowest.
However, this wasn’t going to be list of simply who had the highest WAR while they were here and that’s it. So we adjusted the list based on postseason contributions, overall quality of player, and general importance to the franchise.
Our list continues.
46. 2B Keston Hiura
Although he hasn’t been with the Milwaukee Brewers for very long, Keston Hiura has had a huge impact on this team. The ninth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, Hiura is the most hyped Brewers hitting prospect to arrive at Miller Park since Ryan Braun made his debut back in 2007.
Despite starting this season in Triple-A and only getting 314 at-bats in the big leagues, he had a big enough impact to find himself on this list. That’s impressive.
2019: 2.1 WAR
To be worth more than two wins above replacement in so few at-bats, and with poor defensive metrics, speaks to just how good his bat is. As Adam McCalvy of MLB.com would say, the man can hit.
In those 314 at-bats, Hiura posted a .303/.368/.570 slash line with 19 homers, 49 RBIs, and a 138 OPS+. He struck out 30.8% of the time, but when he made contact, it went for base hits pretty often. Hiura finished his first big league season with a .402 BABIP, which is quite high and for the most part, unsustainable, but as a high strikeout hitter that still makes a ton of contact, his BABIP is likely going to be high.
Hiura can hit the ball to all fields, hitting it to left (30.3%) just about as often as he goes to right (29.3%).
For a whole decade’s worth of players and contributions, a rookie with only one year and 314 at-bats making the top 50 list tells a lot about the impact he made (or about the lack of impact others made).
While he’s far from perfect or a finished product, Hiura has huge potential and upside. If he can improve his defense to be serviceable, and cut down on those strikeouts to where he’s only whiffing 20-25% of the time instead of 30%, he’s going to be one of the best homegrown hitters to come through the Milwaukee Brewers farm system in franchise history.
While he sits at No. 46 right now, with his trajectory, when lists are made of the best Brewers of the 2020s, it’s a practical certainty that he will be much, much higher on that countdown.
To make the impact that he did in such a short amount of time, is nothing short of remarkable. The future is very bright for Keston Hiura.