Batting Third: 2B Keston Hiura
The man can hit.
When Keston Hiura was drafted in 2017, that’s what Brewers fans were told. When Hiura was called up in 2019, that’s what Brewers fans saw with their own eyes. Even though 2020 was a rough season for Hiura as well, the ability to hit is still there.
In 2019, Hiura hit .303/.368/.570 with 23 doubles, 19 homers, a .938 OPS, and 138 OPS+ in just 84 games. Hiura was as advertised and expectations were high heading into his first full season as the starting second baseman.
Unfortunately, in 2020, Hiura may have also suffered from the lack of a crowd as well because his offensive numbers took a nosedive. Hiura hit just .212/.297/.410 although with 13 homers, but just an 88 OPS+. He also struck out 85 times, which led the National League and his strikeout rate spiked to 34.6%.
Part of this can be attributed to the circumstances of the 2020 season and part could also be attributed to the fact that this was Hiura’s sophomore season in the big leagues. Pitchers had a full year of film study on him now and they figured out different ways to attack him at the plate. Hiura will need to make adjustments going forward.
It was also hard for Hiura to adjust in-game last year since players weren’t allowed any video access after their at-bats to see what went right or wrong. That’s something that should hopefully change in 2021 and with another year of experience himself, Hiura should be right again.
Yelich will need to be protected in the batting order and Hiura is the best candidate for that job. Hiura possesses a combination of hitting for average and hitting for power that is difficult to find. Although he will strike out often, he’s a big threat in the heart of the order and when he’s on his game, he’s a dangerous hitter.