Milwaukee Brewers fans have long awaited the arrival of Keston Hiura. Regarded as one of the top-15 prospects in all of baseball, Hiura has been lauded as a potential offensive star that carries an all-star caliber ceiling. With average defense at second base and no significant holes in his overall game, he is likely the Brewers’ most complete prospect since Ryan Braun.
Thus far in his career, Hiura has hit, and hit, and then hit some more. Over just 202 minor league games, Hiura carried an elite-level slash line of .316/.380/.534, hitting 28 home runs, 60 doubles, and 13 triples. He is a true middle-of-the-order threat, combining an advanced approach at the plate with explosive bat speed.
While Hiura was likely to appear in Milwaukee at some point in 2019, no one knew exactly when it would be. Some had pegged June or July as realistic timelines, but it always was going to depend on the need and fit with the Brewers roster. With Mike Moustakas manning second base, the Brewers had an established starter blocking Hiura’s path.
So, despite the roadblock, Hiura did what he always does: he hit. He got off to a hot start with the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, the San Antonio Missions, hitting .333/.408/.698 with 11 home runs and 26 RBI in just 37 games. Then, with third baseman Travis Shaw’s struggles and his subsequent wrist injury, a door opened for Hiura to make the leap to Milwaukee.
Given Moustakas is a natural third baseman, it made sense for him to slide over to third base to fill in for the injured Shaw, opening second base for Hiura. In less than two years since being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, Hiura was slated to make his major-league debut.
In that major-league debut, can you guess what Keston Hiura did? HE HIT. His first at-bat was a glimpse of what makes him so special as a hitter, as he tracked a slider and hit it right back up the middle with an exit velocity of 104 miles per hour. After a walk and a fly out in his next two at bats, he connected on a line drive to left field for a single that measured an exit velocity of 107 miles per hour.
Although one game is a small sample size, Hiura looks to be just as advertised. He is what many would call a “professional hitter” who should contribute significantly offensively while playing defense that is neither spectacular nor shoddy. That profile adds a ton of value to the Brewers, who so far have been bolstered disproportionately on offense by a select few players and could use contributions from further down in the order. If Hiura keeps playing like he did last night, the Brewers will need to have some discussions when Travis Shaw returns from the injured-list.