The Milwaukee Brewers are in a tricky spot with Keston Hiura.
As a hitter, Keston Hiura is dominating right handed pitching, but struggling mightily against left handed pitching, echoing a problem that the Brewers have as a team, one that has developed into an Achilles’ heel for the Crew.
Keston Hiura is currently slashing .308/.438/.718 with a 1.155 OPS versus right handed pitchers. Those are monstrous numbers, but versus left handed pitchers Keston Hiura is slashing .119/.213/.119 with a .332 OPS.
His OPS versus lefties is near his batting average versus righties. Is there a team, or teams, in Major League Baseball that would be interested in acquiring a player with such lopsided splits? Let’s look at three potential options.
Could the Brewers trade Keston Hiura? Option one: Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox currently sit second in the AL Central, one game under .500 but just four games back of the division leading Minnesota Twins.
The White Sox have been, to put it gently, dreadful against right handed pitching. They are 23rd in batting average, 28th in on base percentage, 28th in slugging, 28th in OPS and 27th in home runs (stats according to MLB.com).
Enter Keston Hiura.
Hiura could be the perfect piece to employ as a DH for the White Sox who based on other AL Central rosters have 17 right handed starters in their division.
Could the Brewers trade Keston Hiura? Option Two: Tampa Bay Rays
Another team that could use Keston Hiura’s bat in their lineup is a very familiar trade partner of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays, like the White Sox have struggled mightily against right handed pitching, despite being tied for 12th in home runs against righties, the Rays are also, 27th in batting average, 26th in on base percentage, 23rd in slugging, and 23rd in OPS.
Historically, the Rays have been a team that gets the most out of their players by using analytics and would be a good landing spot for Hiura should he be on the trade block.
Could the Brewers trade Keston Hiura? Option Three: Cleveland Guardians
The last potential trade partner the Milwaukee Brewers could potentially look into is back in the AL Central, where the Cleveland Guardians, like the White Sox, sit a game below .500 and just four back of the division lead.
The Guardians aren’t quite as hard up for hitters that can hit against right handed pitchers but do lack some long ball ability, basically the opposite of the Rays. The Guardians are 6th in batting average, 14th in on base percentage, 11th in slugging and 12th in OPS, decent numbers against right handed pitching.
Despite those respectable numbers, the Guardians rank 24th in home runs against right handed pitching. Keston Hiura has hit five home runs this season, all against right handed hitters.
Some may wonder why trade a bat that has been as good as Keston Hiura’s, especially with how much they’ve invested in him? It would be a tough decision, but if they won’t play him against righties regularly to get him back on track, then it makes sense to move on in the best interests of both parties. He can’t stay in a role facing a ton of lefties when he has no success against them.
Even if all of the Brewers starters and relievers make their way back healthy, David Stearns could still flip one of the relievers in the two proposed deals for a bat just like last season.