3. Keston Hiura
However, Hiura is too good of a hitter for the kinds of struggles he faced in 2020 to be an indication of his long-term future. Hiura will right the ship and the oddities of the 2020 season had a negative impact on him just like many others.
The 2020 season highlighted his strikeout concerns but there are plenty of reasons to believe in a bounceback in 2021 and beyond.
The Brewers believe that Hiura is the future in the middle of the lineup and will be a .300 hitter for the next several years. When you can lock up a guy like that for several years, you have to take that opportunity.
Hiura is under team control for five more seasons and won’t reach arbitration until 2023. That makes a guaranteed six year deal the shortest possible extension the Brewers would consider. The Brewers still have two years at near-league minimum salary for Hiura and they wouldn’t give him a big pay increase over those years unless they’re getting some extended years of him in a Brewers uniform.
Coming off a down year, the price would likely be lower on a Hiura extension if it were to get done before next season than if they decide to wait.
Hiura has only played in a total of 143 games at the big league level, which is less than a full season. Despite that, the Brewers know that the man can hit. He didn’t hit that much in 2020, but the man can still hit and he will hit going forward.
Hiura and Yelich will be the 1-2 punch in the lineup over the next several years similar to the Ryan Braun–Prince Fielder 1-2 punch from 2007-2011. The Brewers got the first punch locked up with Braun, but couldn’t lock up the second punch in 2011. This time, they have the first punch signed with Yelich’s deal, and they should look to lock up the second punch this time with Keston Hiura.
These three young players represent the future of the Brewers organization. Although each are under control for 4-5 more seasons, extensions now can provide the team with cost certainty and most likely discounts on the salary.