The Brewers announced that infielder Keston Hiura, who was designated for assignment this week, went unclaimed on waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Nashville. As a player with more than three years of service time, he has the right to reject the assignment in favor of free agency, but doing so would mean forfeiting his $2.2MM salary. As such, he’ll surely accept the assignment and open the season in Nashville, hoping to play his way back onto the big league club.
Hiura, 26, was a ninth overall selection of the Brewers in 2017 and was a top 100 prospect in the years after that. He burst onto the big leagues in 2019, hitting 19 home runs in 84 games. His 30.7% strikeout rate that year was on the high side, but that was just his age-22 season. It seemed reasonable to expect that he would be able to refine his approach as he aged and grew accustomed to big league pitching, allowing him to make better use of that tremendous power.
Unfortunately, the opposite has proven to be true, with Hiura’s strikeouts becoming even more of a problem. His rate ticked up to 34.6% in 2020, then 39.1% the next year and 41.7% last season. The power still remains, as he hit 14 home runs in 80 games last year, but the punchouts give back a lot of the value that comes from those homers. As those strikeouts continued to mount, the Brewers often sent him to the minors, eventually exhausting his option years.
The Brewers could have kept Hiura around as a right-handed bench bat to complement their many left-handed hitters, but he actually has fairly extreme reverse splits in his career. He’s hit just .201/.283/.323 against lefties for a wRC+ of 65, while slashing .253/.332/.508 against righties for a 122 wRC+. The Brewers also brought Luke Voit aboard on a minor league deal this winter and saw him perform well this spring. He also has reverse splits, but not nearly as extreme as Hiura. Voit opted out of his minors deal but returned to the Brewers on a one-year deal, at which point Hiura was designated for assignment.
Hiura reached arbitration for the first time this winter and was able to secure himself a $2.2MM salary for the upcoming season. As mentioned up top, he can leave that money on the table and become a free agent if he likes, but the fact that no team claimed him off waivers suggests that none of the 29 other clubs values him at that price point. He’ll likely report to Triple-A and try once again to earn another opportunity in Milwaukee.
What happened to this guy? He was a hitting machine through college and minors.
Ever see major league? Pedro Cerrano
“Jesus, this guy hits a ton, how come no one else picked up on him?”
“Alright Eddie, that’s enough fastballs throw em some breaking balls.”
Essentially the same….once pitchers found his weakness, he can’t hit the ball anymore.
Someone tell Hiura to kick his Jobu to the curb pronto!
The team fell for the launch angle craze and tried to change his swing to get more loft.
Gee it’s almost like hitting in the majors is more difficult than hitting in college and the minors.
He had questions about his glove coming out of college but they figured he could be average. He hurt his elbow in his draft year and it hurt his draft stock. Many fans, many of whom are still on here didn’t think that would be problem because they think the DH rule would fix incomplete baseball players.
What happened is he sucks in MLB it’s 1000xbetter than any college or milb league
Surprised a non-contending team didn’t take a chance on him.
Agreed., Fully understand he will except the AAA assigned and collect his $2.2MM too., I would.
$ turns them off. If he was making 700g I think he gets claimed or even traded for.
Is the pressure on or off for him to clear his head, get someone else to work on his mechanics, and get another shot in the majors? I’m rooting for him. I want the see his Rookie numbers again with less SOs,
You know what? I am rooting for that too, believe it or not.
As I predicted, rebuilding teams don’t want to spend $2.2MM on another teams failure, especially when they can’t field and have no options left. Non contending teams don’t have money saved from their budget for mid season acquisitions. Their money is already spent. Even $2.2MM is more than they have.
Categorically false, but no one saw him as a ML caliber project nor worth the cost if he failed. Understandable, but every teams have 2.2mm to spare and you’re delusional if you believe otherwise.
Not really. He makes $2.2MM. You could easily take a chance on a similar player for a third of the cost.
The Greatest American Hiura he is not!
Well I for one hope he can figure it out and he makes it back to Milwaukee. But I would like to see him at Biloxi so he can work with Chuck Caufield.
He needs to work with someone, and that someone needs to get him to completely abandon the concept of launch angle.
THIS. He was a line drive machine in college and when he first signed.
We’ve seen this play out before. Every time he was sent down last year he hit, so they bring him back up and he hits…for about a week or 10 days, then back in the tank. On 1 hand I’m surprised he accepted the assignment, but I suppose he weighed the options and felt he wouldn’t get close to $2.2 mil elsewhere, regardless of potentially being on a big league roster or not.
Anyway, unless he can learn to consistently lay off the high fastball, changing the rest might be pointless. Improving his defense..at any position, will help a ton as well.
That’s true Al, Hiura hit well every time he was sent back down to triple A but couldn’t maintain the improvements for very long once he was called back up. Call me crazy, but I was glad no one picked him up. Guess I can’t let go of the promise he flashed his exciting rookie year. Probably best for him, though, if he can start over with a new organization.
Now he can be traded right and that team can keep him down in AAA?
Crew already spotting Jon Singleton at 1b. Guess Hiura could DH?
He just has to figure out what strike is and what a ball is.
If you look into the numbers his pitch recognition isn’t that bad. What gets him is the enormous amount of balls in the strike zone that he swings at and misses. It was truly baffling to watch him the last year or two. You just cannot figure out how he swings and misses at so many hittable pitches.
Voit is a similar player with higher upside and a better track record. I get why they did this. Also still curious what Voit’s contract value actually is.
I’m still shaking my head at the decision to tender him in the first place. Small market teams like the Brewers can’t afford to pay someone $2.2 million to be in AAA.
It is a head scratcher
I think they tendered him that reasonable contract to give him one more chance this spring. Now the contract may have kept him in the organization to work on getting better. If it were much more, I would agree, but the team let Josh Lindblom pitch for years for major league money in Nashville not that long ago, just letting his contract expire.
Although not as extreme, Yelich has fallen way off as well. Something’s not right. Maybe these guys get HR happy in that ballpark.
Kind of surprised he made it through waivers. Hopefully he can figure things out in the minors.
Hope he gets back to being himself. He was a high contact guy. Not a power guy.
I enjoyed watching him play at UCI.