Keston Hiura has been a key part of the Brewers organizational plans ever since he was drafted with the 9th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Five years later, things haven’t gone entirely according to those plans.
It didn’t take long for Hiura to push his way to the major leagues, raking throughout the minors and earning a promotion after the offensive struggles of a previously strong performer in Travis Shaw. Hiura seized the job from Shaw and hit .303 with 19 home runs and a .938 OPS in 84 games his rookie season.
It was everything the Brewers were expecting of him. The future was bright.
Then in 2020, Hiura regressed in the contact and batting average departments. He led the team in homers in the shortened season, but he regressed 91 points in batting average down to .212 and 231 points in OPS down to .707. Hiura also led the league in strikeouts with 85.
That could just be attributed to an odd, short season, right? Sure, but then in 2021, the regressive trend continued. Hiura hit just .168 on the year with a .557 OPS and a paltry 49 OPS+. He was demoted several times and went from the starting first baseman after the signing of Kolten Wong, to a bench player at most.
Keston Hiura shows signs of progress but enough struggles the Brewers can’t trust him. What are their options?
This season, Hiura has already been demoted once and just can’t seem to get into a full groove at the plate. We see glimpses of the 2019 version, where Hiura makes hard contact and drives the ball in the air. But those glimpses are maybe once every other game or so and it’s surrounded by a lot of strikeouts and poor ABs.
His .245 average and .768 OPS are improvements, but his 42.8% strikeout rate shows the problems are very much still there.
So, really, what are the Brewers to do with Keston Hiura at this point? They’ve invested a lot in him, he was a big part of their plans for the future, and he’s just not getting it done.