2020 was a season of woes for the Brewers. A year lacking in runs was joined by a less than stellar performance at the second base position. Keston Hiura came into the league with a reputation of being an above average hitter with below average defensive skills. Hiura exceeded expectations in his 2019 rookie year by sporting a .303 batting average, 19 homers, and a .938 OPS.
However, Keston’s sophomore year didn’t go quite as well. While leading the Crew with 13 home runs, he also lead the NL with 85 strike outs in 59 games while batting .212. The Brewers ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft was not the only player in the lineup to see decreases in his offensive stats in a strange, Covid affected year.
Along with the return of Lorenzo Cain and the hope of Christian Yelich returning to his MVP form, Milwaukee looks for Hiura to return to the offensive weapon he was in his rookie season. His offensive slide was not helped by his lack in defensive skill. Dealing with elbow injuries since his time at University of California Irvine, Hiura has struggled with his range and ability to turn double plays. Since 2019, Keston Hiura is ranked 27th among the leagues second basemen in defensive runs saved above average with -10.4. A full 5.6 fewer than 26th ranked Ryan McMahon. So the Brewers went looking for answers.
Enter, Kolten Wong.
The two-time and reigning Gold Glove winner signed a two year contract with Milwaukee in early February. Along with his outstanding defensive prowess, Kolten Wong brings a consistent bat, hitting a career .308 at Miller Park and will hope to continue that success at American Family Field. He also brings a veteran presence to a team who is looking at the possibility of losing a key vet and team leader in Ryan Braun.
The addition of Wong at second base will provide the opportunity to move Hiura to first. A move which seems to fit Hiura and his skill set. The Brewers will more than likely go with a platoon at first base, but if Keston can get right at the plate, he should see the majority of the starts at first in 2021.
Wong has already expressed his excitement in joining Milwaukee stating that the Brewers play a more analytical, newer style of baseball.
After a decade of The Cardinal Way, Kolten Wong said he's been enjoying a different way. He views the Brewers as more aggressive shifters, deeper into analytics. "The newer way," Wong said.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) February 23, 2021
The gold glover has also mentioned that he hopes to help Orlando Arcia win a gold glove of his own. Kolten Wong looks to be a big piece of the puzzle for the 2021 Milwaukee Brewers.
Now it’s time to Turn(er) the page and look for an upgrade at third base.