Batting 8th: An improved Keston Hiura, 1B
What a fall from grace. Keston Hiura, the Brewers top prospect in 2019, who made his debut to great anticipation and immediate success, is now practically an afterthought in the Brewers lineup plans.
In a true dream scenario, Hiura is back to his old self and can hit in the middle of the lineup, blasting 30 homers a season and hitting .300. However, we haven’t seen that version of Hiura in two years. Craig Counsell isn’t going to trust that that version of Hiura is back for at least a few weeks, if he comes out swinging well in 2022 to begin with.
Hiura does not have a big contract and he’s not established in the big leagues like Christian Yelich. They can ride through Yelich’s struggles every day, but they don’t have that luxury with Hiura. As such, Hiura begins down in the 8th spot in the order in this dream Opening Day lineup.
There’s simply no other spot where he fits in right now. Rowdy Tellez is a strong candidate to earn that starting first base job as he performed well down the stretch. However, the Brewers do believe in Hiura and I believe they’ll continue to give him opportunities to hit at the big league level. He’s too talented of a hitter to be that bad again, right?
Like it or not, the Brewers need Hiura, and they need to give him chances to get going. The best place to get him those chances, is in the 8th spot in the order.
Batting 9th: Lorenzo Cain, CF
Depending on who you are, 2018 can either feel like just yesterday, or it feels like a lifetime ago. Lorenzo Cain was the leadoff hitter for the Brewers that season and he did extremely well in that role. However, Cain has taken on a new role in the final years of his contract.
While still speedy and an excellent defender, Cain is going to be 36 this season and is a bottom of the order bat at this point in his career. He was routinely hitting 8th last year, but with the expected addition of the DH in 2022, Cain becomes the 9th place hitter in this dream lineup.
Cain was still mildly productive in 2021, and he always has quality at-bats, even if the results aren’t always base hits. He’s a leader in the clubhouse, a leader on the field, and a really solid option to have at the bottom of the order.
When Cain does get on base, which will still be fairly often (and a lot more often than a pitcher would get on base) that puts a duck on the pond for the top of the order in Wong and Adames. Those guys become even more dangerous and productive with runners on base, which helps this offense get into a groove.
Cain is the perfect 9th place hitter for this lineup, and he rounds out our dream 2022 Opening Day Brewers lineup.
We’re a few months away from Opening Day and just over a month away from when pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report. Hopefully on March 31st, we’ll see this lineup posted at American Family Field.