MLB News

Is Keston Hiura’s Roster Spot with Brewers in Danger?

Is Keston Hiura's Roster Spot with Brewers in Danger?

Not long ago, the future looked bright for Keston Hiura and the Brewers. The former No. 9 overall draft pick (2017) had been a universally lauded top-25 prospect in the sport due to a high-probability hit tool that overshadowed concerns about his glovework. He breezed through the minors, torching opponents in Rookie ball, Class-A, High-A, Double-A and Triple-A before reaching the Majors in 2019 and erupting with a .303/.368/.570 batting line and 19 home runs in just 348 plate appearances at 22 years of age.

Hiura’s long-term position was something of an open question due to an elbow injury that required surgery in college and left questions about his arm strength even at second base. However, his bat was so advanced and his professional track record was so strong that it didn’t seem to matter much. That rookie production and his minor league track record suggested a player whose offensive profile would fit at any position on the diamond.

Granted, Hiura’s 30.7% strikeout rate as a rookie was a red flag, but strikeouts weren’t an issue at all until he reached Triple-A and the big leagues. There was reason to believe that with more experience, he could pare back on the swing-and-miss in his game. Further, given the 91.4 mph average exit velocity and 48.1% hard-hit rate he boasted that season, the impact when he did make contact was substantial. Even with a .402 BABIP pointing to some regression in the batting average department, Hiura looked the part of a slugger who could turn in an average or better batting average with plenty of power.

That now feels like a distant memory. In the three seasons since that time, Hiura hasn’t improved upon his strikeouts but rather seen the problem worsen. He fanned at a 34.6% clip in his sophomore season while posting a disappointing .212/.297/.410 line. Optimists could perhaps chalk that up to a relatively small sample (59 games) and the strangeness of the Covid-shortened 2020 season, but Hiura hit just .168/.256/.301 with an even worse 39.1% strikeout rate in 2021. His bottom-line results were better in 2022 — .226/.316/.449, 14 homers in 266 plate appearances — but Hiura punched out at a career-worst 41.7% rate last year.

Along the way, defensive metrics have regularly panned his abilities in the field. Defensive Runs Saved (-16), Ultimate Zone Rating (-14.1) and Outs Above Average (-12) all offer resoundingly negative reviews of his 1204 career innings at second base. Those metrics grade him as an…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at MLB Trade Rumors…