We recently took a look at the four main outfielders that the Brewers will utilize throughout the upcoming season. While there are some question marks in terms of playing time, these guys have all established themselves as true professionals. On the infield, there is a lot more uncertainty.
From the battle at shortstop, to the defensive ability of Keston Hiura at first base, to who will be the main third baseman for Craig Counsell, this position group may go through some growing pains. If this unit can collectively hit and field at a consistent rate, it would really take the pressure off the pitching staff as well as the outfielders in terms of shouldering the load for the team’s offensive production.
Like our last piece, we’ll be taking the projections from Baseball Reference, the internet baseball encyclopedia. Specifically we’ll look at Hiura, Kolten Wong, Orlando Arcia, Luis Urías and Travis Shaw. Daniel Robertson could very well be a key utilityman for his ballclub this Spring and Summer, but his at-bats could fluctuate greatly so we’ll bypass him.
So let’s go ahead and dig into it. Are the following stat projections for Brewers infielders “fair” or “foul?”
Projection: .258/.337/.481 28 HR 77 RBI 77 R
Keston Hiura has yet to hit 20 home runs in an MLB season to this point in his career, but I wholeheartedly this will be the year for that…..and so does Baseball Reference.
His first year in the big leagues, Hiura hit 19 home runs in about half of the games in a full MLB season (84). Now, with only Daniel Vogelbach potentially behind him on the depth chart at first base, I love the projected number of plate appearances at 567. This projection really hit the nail on the head.
Last year was probably one of the worst seasons that Hiura has ever had hitting the ball for as far as we can look back. His worst season in terms of batting average throughout college and minor league action was in 2018 with the Biloxi Shuckers where he hit a respectable .273 in 73 games.
There’s no need to reiterate his struggles last year as everyone could tell he just wasn’t seeing the ball well, resulting in a bit of a sophomore slump for the Brewers slugger and similar to so many other good hitters during the craziness that was 2020.
His estimated .258 average is essentially split down the middle from his first year with the Brewers where he hit .303 and last year where he hit .212. I could see him hitting higher or lower by not by a huge margin if looking at this conservatively. A .481 SLG% would really prove beneficial as Milwaukee could be lacking in the power department.
In terms of raw numbers, 77 RBI’s might seem a bit low, especially if he’s in the cleanup spot like we estimated. 77 runs seems fine and 28 home runs would come in second on the team behind Christian Yelich according to Baseball Reference.