When Vogelbach came up lame running around third in Tuesday night’s game, everyone knew in the back of their mind what it meant: The Brewers would need to call back up Keston Hiura.
Hiura has struggled all season long in the big leagues, and his second demotion to Triple-A was expected to last at least a month. Instead, it lasted just over two weeks. FanSided’s Robert Murray had the news first.
Daniel Vogelbach had been doing well at first base, but his injury means Hiura will get another opportunity. But is it too soon?
There weren’t really any other intriguing options. First base depth is pretty shallow across the Brewers organization, and they’re especially light on hitters available at Triple-A. Hiura made the most sense as a call up.
But the plan was to keep him down in Triple-A longer in order to ensure he could work out whatever issues he was having at the plate, because the last time he went down he didn’t get enough time to work things out. Instead, he ended up spending about the same amount of time playing in Triple-A in his second stint as he did in his first stint.
Hiura had been hitting over .400 down in Triple-A in his second stint, which is great to see. But the issue that needs to be addressed is his swing-and-miss problem, specifically his high number of strikeouts.
For what it’s worth, Hiura struck out 13 times in 51 plate appearances, which is a 25.5% K rate. That’s lower than the K rate from his first stint and lower than what he’d been doing in the big leagues. So perhaps he has made some improvements.
Hiura will always have a decent amount of strikeouts in his game, but the key is to hit the pitches he’s supposed to hit. Striking out on a slider down and away is different than striking out on an 89 MPH fastball right down the middle.
Is it too soon to call Hiura back up? Probably. We’ll see if the third time’s the charm this year. If he struggles again, then he may go to stay in Triple-A the rest of the year and an outside addition at the Trade Deadline becomes a virtual certainty. If he’s able to thrive, then more power to him and then the first base issue is solved.
The Brewers need him, in the worst way. It just would’ve been preferable to not need him back this soon.
The Brewers would’ve preferred to keep Hiura down a little bit longer, but Vogelbach’s injury leaves them no choice. Whether the timing ends up being too soon or just right, Hiura had to be called back up.