2019 was really a year for Keston Hiura, to say the least. Making his major league debut in May of last year, it was obvious that the Brewers made a great decision bringing up the second baseman.
How did Hiura Perform?
Offensively, Keston Hiura crushed it at the plate. At only 22, he’s posting a .303/.368/.570/.938 slashline with an OPS+ of 138 and smashed 19 homers. It’s safe to say that Hiura can hit, even being named one of the top-25 hitters in baseball.
Hiura wasn’t necessarily the rookie that everyone had their eyes on to be great, however. But, he got lucky with his .402 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). Even with his strike of luck, people did start doubting the second baseman and believed that he could hit a regression point.
Even though Hiura had a .303 batting average, his strikeout rate really didn’t match up with that. He struck out 30.7% of the time when he was at the plate, making him one of the highest strikeouts in the MLB. Of course, he hit, he got on base, anything expected of a rookie.
Then he started to square up with the ball.
Tying with Josh Donaldson and Mitch Garver in the MLB with his contact, Hiura was hitting the ball hard, 95 mph or harder, according to Statcast. He was able to hit the ball hard, and hit it in the air. He’s arguably the best hitter the Milwaukee Brewers have behind Christian Yelich, and Yelich can’t hit everything by himself, he needs assistance.
While Hiura is considered one of the best young hitters, his defense didn’t really compensate for that. As a rookie, he committed 16 errors and just played super rough. It’s going to be hard to avoid the sophomore slump and provide a lot of production.
What Does This Mean for Hiura?
He’s gotta step it up. The Brewers can’t afford to have Hiura hit the sophomore slump. They need his hitting power and as he improves with his defense, they’ll need his defensive power as well. If Keston Hiura can have a good 2020 season, there’s no doubt that the Brewers will make another postseason appearance. But, if he’s slumping, expect maybe a Wild Card spot, but no division title for the crew. A lot of pressure is being placed on Hiura, and it’s pressure in a good way.
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