With a .301/.369/.571 line, 16 home runs, and nine stolen bases in his first 295 plate appearances in the majors, Brewers infielder Keston Hiura has this season put on prominent display the skills that made him a top-10 pick in the 2017 Rule IV draft. Today comes word that the UC Irvine product is a little closer to putting those tools to further use, as Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets that Hiura did a full workout (including batting practice) before logging one at-bat in today’s game against the Cardinals (link). Hiura has been out with a left hamstring strain since Aug. 31. Though the club certainly awaits his return with eagerness, they have been doing just fine for themselves in Hiura’s absence. Saturday’s win brings their record to 8-2 over their last ten contests. They are now just 1.0 games back of the Cubs for the last Wild Card play-in spot.
More notes from around the NL…
- Baseball America has released their annual “Classification All-Stars” list, in which they name their All-Stars, MVPs, and Pitchers of the Year for each minor league level irrespective of league. Notably, NL prospects took home Pitcher of the Year honors at every minor league level except Double-A (a level which Tigers farmhand Matt Manning trounced in 2019). The complete list of garlanded NL pitchers includes Arizona’s Zac Gallen (Triple-A), San Diego’s Mackenzie Gore (High-A), San Francisco’s Seth Corry (Single-A), Arizona’s Luis Frias (Short Season), Miami’s Luis Palacios (Rookie), and Jerming Rosario of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization (Dominican Summer League).
- The Rockies play the Padres this weekend in a three-game series that has few relevant ramifications–aside from which team may be hung with the unflattering distinction of being the so-called cellar dweller in the NL West this year. There may be another bright spot in the offing for Colorado as their season yawns to a close, however, as word now comes that pitcher Kyle Freeland is one step closer to ending his troubled 2019 season on a positive note. Manager Bud Black told Thomas Harding of MLB.com that Freeland threw an issue-free, two-inning simulated bullpen session on Saturday–the 26-year-old’s latest step in recovery from a groin injury suffered on Aug. 21. After vexing hitters thoroughly in 2018 (2.85 ERA in 202.2 innings), this season has been a true test of faith for Freeland, as his 6.98 ERA in 99.1 innings of work was the worst mark among all pitchers who tossed more than 90 IP this year.