Keston Hiura, Prospects
Without a minor league season, it’s hard to fully gauge how the Brewers’ top prospects performed this year. Did they grow? Did they progress on a normal level? Did they regress?
The Brewers didn’t release much in terms of information from their alternate training site, and all those intrasquad scrimmages makes statistics hard to keep track of and determine how valuable those numbers really are.
So instead, Stearns tells us who stood out among the crowd in Appleton among the prospects that were there.
Stearns points out that top shortstop prospect Brice Turang and LHP prospect Antoine Kelly both performed well in Appleton and made the most of their opportunity. That doesn’t mean they were the only prospects who performed at a high level, but they stood out among the rest.
That could push Turang to be ready for Double-A ball next year when there’s hopefully a minor league season and perhaps this means Kelly’s development is going well enough he can stick as a starting pitcher going forward. There were questions about his ability to do so when he was drafted, but he might end up on a starter’s track still.
Stearns also talked about Keston Hiura and his struggles this year, both at the plate and in the field. While the Brewers still believe in Hiura’s hitting ability, his glove has always been a question mark. Throughout 2020, Hiura struggled throwing the ball to first base, even from only 40-50 feet away.
On short, routine throws Hiura was constantly wild and making Jedd Gyorko or whoever was at first base to make an amazing catch just to get the out. While there was some talk after the Justin Smoak DFA that Hiura could see some time at first base, the Brewers aren’t going to be pushing that going into 2021.
Hiura’s focus will still be on trying to play the field everyday at second base and getting back to his slugging ways. A possible role as a DH could be in Hiura’s future, but with Daniel Vogelbach under contract and the possible return of Braun, if there is a DH in 2021, those two will be the primary guys. Hiura will still need to play the field to be in the lineup.
After all, Hiura is just 24 years old. He’s a little too young to move to a full time DH from the middle infield.
The Brewers are going to make some changes heading into 2021, but based off these comments from Stearns, it may not be the quality or the quantity of changes that some fans are desiring. The offseason is just getting started.