Everybody who follows the sport of baseball knows Toronto Blue Jays phenom, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. This is not only because his dad is a Hall of Famer and was once one of the most entertaining players of all-time, it’s because Vlad Jr. is good, like really good and extremely fun to watch. Vlad has all of the tools and charisma to be the face of the MLB for many years to come. He’s has been the #1 ranked prospect in baseball for what seems like forever and he’s putting together a solid rookie season. Vlad Jr. gets all of the media attention, but Milwaukee Brewers rookie second baseman, Keston Hiura, deserves more.
Last Saturday night, when I watched the Brewers beat the Cubs, 5-3, one player really stood out. Of course, it was Keston Hiura. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th inning, the rookie smoked a double to the opposite field to tie the game and he wasn’t done there. Two innings later, in the bottom of the 10th, the game was tied at 3 until Hiura squared up a Craig Kimbrel curveball and ended the game with a walk-off 2-run home run. His late game heroics caused him to be all over Twitter in what seemed like the first time all year that fans from other cities got to see Hiura’s greatness. It’s that time in the season where the media should spend less time on Vlad Jr. and more time on Keston Hiura.
When comparing the numbers between the two rookies, it’s not hard to see who has been producing at a higher level. In 33 less games, Hiura has the better numbers and is having a better rookie season. Guerrero has had 316 plate appearances in 76 games while Hiura has had 177 plate appearances in 43 games. The first number I want to look at is batting average and Hiura dominates this category with a .325 BA compared to Vlad’s .259. Now, Hiura has had less at-bats so theoretically he should have a better average but that’s only the case if he was 10 points better. Instead, he’s 66 points better which is tough to ignore. Sure, Vlad Jr. isn’t known for his average but more so his power and even then, he only has 10 home runs compared to Hiura’s 11. Essentially, the only “power” stat Guerrero has Hiura beat in is doubles where he has 16 compared to Keston’s 10. Vlad has a decent OPS and OPS+ of .757 and 103 respectively but Hiura blows him out of the water in the category with his numbers looking like 1.009 and 155. Keston has played in far less games than Vlad but even has a better WAR than him. Honestly, since he was called up from AAA, Hiura has been one of the best players in all of baseball and nobody outside of Milwaukee knows it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, when Vlad Jr. is getting all of the attention, it should really be Keston Hiura considering at the moment, he is the far better player and prospect.
*Stats accurate as of 7/29/19 at 6:00 pm*
*Stats according to baseball-reference.com*