2. Keston Hiura
He had quite the rookie season in 2019. With the struggles of the Brewers corner infielders in the early part of the season, Mike Moustakas moved back to third base and paved the way for Keston Hiura’s call up to the big leagues. He did not disappoint.
The most hyped hitting prospect to come through the Brewers farm system since Ryan Braun back in 2007, Hiura was as advertised. He hit .303/.368/.570 with 19 homers and a 138 OPS+ with defense that occasionally made you want to pull your hair out.
Obviously, the Brewers will gladly take those defensive shortcomings at second base in exchange for a player with those kinds of offensive numbers. In 2020, Hiura will be the big bat that is in charge of protecting Christian Yelich in the lineup. Those two are the new 1-2 punch in the Brewers lineup and Hiura is key to the Brewers offensive barrage moving forward.
This is a guy the Brewers are clearly high on and do not want to see leave anytime soon. That’s why signing him to a contract extension now makes some sense. His track record isn’t very long, and they believe he’s an ascending player they want to build around.
This has happened a lot in recent years with big league clubs signing long-term contract extensions with their top prospects just as they come up to the big leagues and buy out a year or two of their free agency in exchange for a quicker payday. It’s the reason Christian Yelich’s contract is what it is right now. Guys like Eloy Jimenez, Brandon Lowe, Ronald Acuna, and Ozzie Albies were all very young players with around a year or less of MLB service time and signed contract extensions between 6-8 years.
The Brewers have six more seasons of team control over Hiura, but a seven or eight year contract totalling maybe around $50MM, give or take a few million, is something that I could see both sides agreeing to.
Acquiring players like Hiura once they are already in the big leagues is very expensive. The least expensive way to get these kinds of players is to draft and develop them yourselves and try to sign them to contract extensions when there are no other bidders driving up the price. This is the route the Brewers should take.