Brewers: What is the long-term solution at First Base?

Dillon Graff
Apr 26, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura (18) looks on after striking out during the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura (18) looks on after striking out during the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Brewers
Jul 11, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura (18) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Keston Hiura – Club control through 2025

  • 2 minor league options remaining
  • Career .(241 batting average / .774 OPS)
  • 88.9 MPH exit velocity (MLB average: 88.5 MPH)
  • 45.9% hard hit rate – MLB average: 39.1%

It’s a small sample size, but first base has been Keston Hiura‘s best defensive position so far. Which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement considering Hiura is still turning in a slightly below league average fielding percentage at that position too.

Second base hasn’t been friendly to Keston Hiura, so Milwaukee will surely invest more time in trying to develop Hiura as a first baseman – and getting his “should be” impact bat back in the lineup. Although, DH would be the ideal home for the former top prospect.

The big areas of concern are the rising strikeout percentage’s that are growing each year. (30.8% in 2019, 34.6% in 2020, 39.4% in 2021) – and the declining hard hit rate (52.9% in 2019, 40.6% in 2020,  39.8% in 2021). So letting Hiura spend this extended time in the minors could be vital in making the necessary adjustments to regain his once promising form.

Keston Hiura owns a career .929 OPS throughout his minor league career, and played exceedingly well in his rookie season. I still firmly believe in the former high pedigree slugger to turn things around – although his leash is getting shorter all the time.

Due to the long-term control and flashes he’s shown, I think Milwaukee is going to give Hiura another shot at first. It may not be without competition, but they won’t give up on him that easy. There will assuredly be teams calling in the winter trying to buy low on the former first round pick.

Dan Vogelbach – Club control though 2024

  • Out of minor league options.
  • Career (.208 batting average / .735 OPS)
  • 88.9 MPH exit velocity (MLB average: 88.5 MPH)
  • 43.3% hard hit rate – MLB average: 39.1%
  • 15% walk rate – MLB average: 8.5%

I don’t view Daniel Vogelbach as a possible long-term solution for the Crew. However, if the national league adopts the DH, Big Dan just might have a spot in the lineup. Vogelbach, like the others mentioned, is not a slick fielding first-baseman either. The only thing that keeps Vogelbach mentioned as a possible internal candidate is the lack of major league ready options at first base and the fact he has control through 2024 .

I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Brewers move on from Daniel Vogelbach in the offseason, but he’s undoubtedly been a fun player who has contributed during his time in Milwaukee.

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