The Brewers have informed infielder Keston Hiura he will not be on the active roster, general manager Matt Arnold told reporters (including Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). Since he’s out of minor league option years, Milwaukee will have to trade him or place him on waivers in the next few days.
Arnold also indicated that outfielder Tyler Naquin — who is in camp on a minor league deal — won’t be on the team either (relayed by Adam McCalvy of MLB.com). Naquin will have a chance to opt out of his contract and retest free agency if he doesn’t plan to accept an assignment to Triple-A Nashville.
The tougher call for the Milwaukee front office was to cut bait with Hiura. The ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft, he entered pro ball as one of the game’s top offensive prospects. Hiura flew through the minor leagues and was in the majors within two seasons. He hit the ground running, connecting on 19 home runs with a .303/.368/.570 line in 84 games as a rookie at age 22. That came with a somewhat concerning 30.7% strikeout rate, but it seemed fair to anticipate Hiura making strides from a contact perspective as he gained more experience against big league arms.
Unfortunately for player and team alike, that’s not how things have played out. While he hit 13 more homers in 59 games during the shortened season, his strikeouts jumped to 34.6%. That led to a meager .212/.297/.410 slash. The swing-and-miss concerns continued to mount the following year, as he punched out just under 40% of the time in 61 big league contests. That led Milwaukee to yo-yo between him the majors and Nashville, where Hiura hit for a ton of power and drew plenty of walks but continued striking out at an alarming clip.
It was a similar story in 2022. The UC-Irvine product got into 80 MLB games and drilled 14 homers. His .226/.316/.449 line was 15 percentage points better than last year’s league average offense, as measured by wRC+. Yet it came with a personal-high 41.7% strikeout percentage, the second-highest rate among the 358 hitters with 200+ plate appearances. Any regression in his .355 batting average on balls in play could’ve left him around the Mendoza line with a sub-.300 OBP unless he took a step forward with his bat-to-ball skills. He’d been off to a rough start this spring, striking out in 15 of 32 at-bats while hitting .156/.229/.219.
Unlike in prior years, the Brew Crew didn’t have the luxury of sending Hiura to Nashville to try to figure things out. Without any remaining options, they had to determine whether it was worth carrying him in a bench role. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams explored a couple weeks ago, the decision was complicated by the presence of another right-handed first baseman, Luke Voit, who’s in camp on a minor league deal. Milwaukee parting ways with Hiura would seem to bode well for Voit’s chances of cracking the roster, though the club hasn’t yet indicated whether he’ll make the team.
The Brewers will take the next few days to evaluate their options with Hiura. It seems likely another team will have some interest in a change of scenery trade. He’s under arbitration control through the 2025 campaign and playing this year on an affordable $2.2MM salary. A win-now team like Milwaukee might not have room on the roster but a club with a less immediate contention window like the Nationals or Rockies could take a look. The Phillies are an immediate contender but just lost Rhys Hoskins to a likely season-ending ACL tear and could look for a righty bat to supplement the first base mix.
If Milwaukee were to place Hiura on waivers, any other team could grab him while assuming the salary. Should he go unclaimed, he’d almost certainly stick with the organization in Nashville. Hiura has between three and five years of service time, which gives him the right to refuse an outright assignment but would require relinquishing his salary to do so.
As for Naquin, he seems likely to explore his options on the market. The left-handed hitter is a career .274/.326/.468 hitter against righty pitching. He’s not a great defender and is best served in a platoon capacity but he could find immediate interest elsewhere. Naquin hit .194/.278/.258 in 12 games this spring.
With Tyrone Taylor set to open the season on the injured list, Milwaukee has a decision to make in right field. Christian Yelich will be in left and Garrett Mitchell seems a virtual lock for center. Right field time could fall to Brian Anderson or utility player Owen Miller but Milwaukee also has a pair of highly-regarded prospects in Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer. Neither has yet played in the majors but both hit well in Triple-A last year. Arnold said that either of Frelick or Wiemer breaking camp is “definitely in play” (via Hogg).
What could have been
Did wiemer make the team then???
I doubt it also but the naquin news makes me wonder…. Unless they plan on Anderson in right and urius at third but then does Turang make the club at second? One of these kids are going to make the opening day roster… I guess you could run brosseau at third and urius at 2nd..:
I think wiemer makes the opening day roster we need his arm in right plus we could get a draft pick out of it I think he could win rookie of the year he’s renfroe in a vacuum
Wiemer not being on the 40 man is working against him.
I don’t think a 40 spot is an issue heck isn’t Alexander on the 40??? He would pass thru they said today that wiemer and frelick have a shot… I just have a hard time seeing the crew not sending them down to get the extra year of control but I can hope
They can move 2 players to the 60 day IL and Keston frees up another spot. The 40 man isn’t crowded at all.
Alexander is already on the 60-day. Justin Wilson will need to go on the 60-day, but that spot is needed for Voit. Ashby and Taylor are looking at being back before the end of May, so they won’t go on the 60-day.
3 spots on the 40-man can/will be opened. Wilson to the 60-day, Hiura, and Rule 5 pick Varland. We can assume that Voit will take one of those three.
I see the final roster spot coming down to Turang or Wiemer. Anderson in RF, Urias at 3B, Turang at 2B, or, Wiemer/Anderson/Urias at those positions. For what is going to be essentially a one month audition (until Taylor is back), is it better to start the service time clock for Turang or Wiemer? I think Turnag gets the spot.
Except for home runs, Turang actually had a better season last season in a full year at AAA, compared to Wiemer, who only played 43 games at AAA. And Turang did hit 13 home runs, so he’s not bereft of power. Plus, we get to find out if he will be able to take over for Adames when Adames is traded after the season.
LOLPhillthies go and get him!
Dave Pond 2
Cheap get for the Phillies?
Hard pass, but ty.
Where would they need him?
Hoskins is done for the season, and Hiura would probably handle lefties better than Darick Hall
The Phillies have a lot of in-house options for IF and OF depth. None provide the offense Hoskins does, but neither does Hiura. With the Phils we will see Hall, Bohm, Realmuto, Sosa, and Harrison all takes reps at the corners.
@roiste Actually, Hiura is one of those who handles righties better than lefties, even though they bad right handed. He wouldn’t be a typical platoon partner
Have you ever watched him play 1B?
He actually isn’t that bad at first. He is too short though which means he can’t get to balls a lot of typical 1B get to.
He has reverse splits though so not a reliable platoon. He really needs a team that doesn’t care about winning so he can just play a bunch.
The Phillies might take a flier on him
if he’s cheap.
Maybe hitting coach Long could turn him around.
Low risk, medium reward ?
What I was thinking.
Would be much more likely that the Phillies trade for Voit who probably could be a starter for them.
If the Brewers were willing to trade Voit, they wouldn’t be dumping Hiura in the first place.
Isn’t Voit a non-roster invite? Could the Brewers even trade hundreds unless he was signed?
He’s signed to a minor league deal. It’s no different than trading any minor leaguer.
Ah, my mistake, as the Brewers have strangely dumped Voit as well. He’s now the guy the Phillies should be calling.
Meanwhile, who the heck do the Brewers think is a better option either of those two guys to back up 1B, especially now that Votto may start the season on the IL?!
Oops, sorry, Votto is still a Red, as he always has been.
Still, the Brewers are going to be in big trouble if Tellez gets hurt.
Dave Pond 2
Cheap get for the Phils? Either him or play Harrison at 1B?
Phillies will likely lean on Hall at 1B.
Hall, Schwarber, and Realmuto can all play 1B but Hoskins injury is likely going to call for a more than a band-aid fix. I would see what the Rockies want for Cron
Phillies have some pretty decent infield depth. I think they roll with internal options and if that doesn’t work out, maybe something happens at the deadline.
Hiura could be a DH option to replace Hall. He shouldn’t be in the field anywhere.
It’s a free roll. I don’t think he’ll make it to philly though. There’s too many bottom feeders that probably will take a stab.
Phillies have too many DH options as is. I just don’t see Hiura as a fit.
I would be thrilled if the Phils called about Cron. I understand the Rockies not wanting to move him for nothing last year, but now he is blocking guys and only signed thru the rest of the year. Then again, Cron hits long homers and puts butts in seats at Coors. and that is what the Monforts want.
Of course with AT&T dropping the local broadcasts, perhaps the Rox would want to rid themselves of the salary obligations.
But……@Dave, Hiura’s been awful, consistently awful, why would the Phillies want him?
Because he’s as bad a defender as he is a hitter and baserunner?
He may find another organization. But it will stun me if it’s with a contender.
The White Sox sould be a strong possibility. He’s their sort of player.
Actualy the White Sox are almost all from Latin America so he is not their sort at all.
Brewers need to do better with their first round selections…
Their first round selections need to do better with their play.
Maybe if they were different selections, the play would have been better.
Welcome 1st rd selections Turang, Mitchell, and Frelick to the team this season.
I forgot Mitchell good call yah bad first rounders…
Phillies took of Adam Haseley at 7……don’t feel too bad….
@positively, every team has plenty of poor early round picks. Scouting and drafting is a crapshoot. No measure of analytics will ever tell us if a HS catcher from Las Vegas will turn into a star OF Bryce Harper or if the many players in the same draft will be good, mediocre or suck. See the recent article on Mark Appel for an example. Same goes for the prospects on the top 100 lists, most fade away into barely making the majors or not at all.
Vice President and Assistant General Manager, Analytics: Sig Mejdal of the Orioles oversees the draft using a strong analytic approach which includes incorporating data from scouts. Before coming to the O’s he did that with the Astros, and before that with the Cardinals.
While hardly hitting on all players, he’s been very successful with a good percentage of high draft choices (usually selecting the player that has the best career or those in his group), that built core of teams from those 3 organizations that have (and will have) proved to be sustainable contenders for years.
It doesn’t take much having a high pick that 1st round kinda drafts itself some years
Yah because Turang and frelick are bad picks?? Come on if your team was so smart they would have took burns in the first round but your team was so dumb they passed on him 3 times… first round picks bust all the time your the definition of a moron
I’ve got no dog in the fight, but “your the definition of a moron” made me laugh! =)
I also have no dog in the fight, but I also laughed at “if your team was so smart”Hooked On Phonics worked for me!
Dealin Dave and Fuld waiting for the call
Phillies will trade some low level guy for him
This one belongs to the Reds
Naquin can come back to the Natti anytime.
Why? To eat a coney at skyline with Votto? Naquin, looks like his career is over.
Never seen “Cincinnati” shortened with an extra “t.” Maybe with Naquin and Votto it’s like a plural of Natto?
To the Tigers, buh-bye Mr. Schoop !
Do it Harris !!!
Seems like a great fit for the Rockies.
They don’t really have a place for him. Their corps of young guys only has a couple real potential superstars, but it’s deep as s#$t. They’re sitting 2 or 3 deep in prospects who need PA’s everywhere Hiura can play.
Good news for my computer league late round pickups Voit and Brosseau.
Would anybody like to hear about my fantasy team?
Feel bad for the kid, but it had to happen. With other people pressing ti make the squad and putting up good numbers, there was really no way they could have defended keeping him at this point. Spring numbers normally mean little, but when he normally mashes minor league pitching, and yet was doing nothing this spring but striking out at 40% clip already, the time just had to come. Hopefully they can find him a good change of scenery.
Are you referring to baseball? 🙂
now THATS sexy
Wish Keston the best wherever he goes and hope he figures it out. Kid had a tough go of it with his moms medical issues and I’m sure that didn’t help while struggling.
He just can’t hit consistently enough and he’s a horrendous fielder. Full time DH or bench bat. Could see him landing in Oakland or Cincinnati
His career splits against RHP and LHP are night and day (.840 OPS vs. .606). He would honestly make a very solid DH option against righties on most teams, I just don’t understand why the Brewers felt fit to give him close to equal ABs against both sides. It makes zero sense.
Put him on a team like the Pirates and he probably can scrounge up 400 ABs and hit something like .250 with 20-25 HRs with all the question marks in their lineup.
I like the pirates as a fit… but he can’t hit a lefty to save his life… his reverse splits are crazy… I wish him well…. But let’s be honest he strikes out at a 41% clip
The Pirates should grab him just so he won’t be able to tear them up. Ridiculous stats against them.
Probably, but he’ll also strike out at a 35% clip.
They are but the samples are small and rely heavily on 2019 for value. He had a 71 wRC+ in 2021 and a 90 wRC+ in 2020 against righties. He just isn’t a reliable bat for a team that needs to win. He needs to find his way on a team that can just eat his bad stretches and hope he improves.
Flame out prospect. These are the guys that hold the down the guys that can actually play in the minors. Hiura wanted to keep living off his top prospect status but not put I the work to change his approach at the plate. Strikeouts matter. When will these teams learn. Put the ball in play. Most major leaguers suck at defense now because most GMs have never picked up a bat in their lives. Strikeout and home run hunting GMs are killing baseball. Not the pace of play.
Thank you for your input.
Dude, that’s really creepy that you spied on Keaton Hiura in an effort to gauge his work ethic. I mean, thanks for the inside intel, but still pretty creepy.
Pirates pitchers breathing a sigh of relief
Pache for Huira, both out of options. Wouldn’t be a bad swap.
The problem MKE had with Hiura was that he’s out of options, and there’s no room on the 26 man. Doesn’t really make sense to flip him for another guy who presents the same issues.
Not an ideal swap, but Pache plays a position that might be more flexible than Hiura.
The brewers have about 7 outfielders in AAA and the MLB that are better than pache right now. No shot.
Congrats Brewer fans!
Voit and Brosseau just flat outperformed Hiura this spring. Not sure where he goes but hopefully its somewhere that can fix his swing
‘Fixing his swing” is the nouveau buzz phrase for any MLB position player that can’t hit.
I must have read of at least 50 bad hitters that were supposedly working with someone to do that this winter.
Have seen a few players each year that successfully revamp both their swings and their approach during the offseason, then have noticeable improved results. But most that try that remain lousy hitters.
Well at the time of his callup he was the can’t miss 70grade hitting prospect. And the Brewers had worked on a part of his swing leading up to that day. After 2019 it’s only been a train wreck of Ks and worst contact hitter on in the zone pitches. So fixing his swing isn’t asking much where he ised to be.
How do you know it’s his swing? He surely has more than one swing.
Pitch recognition and approach are arguably more important. In short, a batters choice of a swing on a pitch has to do with where he thinks the ball will be at the point of impact, as well as the type of spin on the ball that he has to counter. It also helps to know what the pitcher will want to do as per the game situation, what the pitcher has thrown him up to that point, and the count when the pitch is made.
The Deputy Mayor of Rush Street
When will you learn how to use a semi-colon correctly?
He added his leg kick back this spring that’s only going to make things worse
It has been mentioned by the Brewers system themselves that Hiura made an adjustment to launch the ball high since he crushes the ball. Only that led to him whiffing on pitches he’d expect to crush. Then he dealt with a lower body movement for timing that never caught on. Pitchers adjusted and found his weakness in 2020 and Hiura hasn’t been the same.
What many organizations have their pitchers do against the uppercutters is to get 2 strikes pitching low in eh zone with slower breaking balls, then bust a high hard 4-seamer not only high, but even above the strike zone.
Whenever a fad starts on offense, defense adjusts and catches up. Happens in the NFL as well.
Sanka – Elitists like Samuel follow their own set of rules.
His mom probably could have outperformed him this spring.
His mom had cancer. Lovely comment.
Leave his mom out of this that’s a jerk move
Clown comment bro
Get Off My Mound
It’s incredibly sad and disheartening that you found what you said funny. It’s anything but.
I wasn’t aware his mom had cancer. I’m sorry. My point is he’s not good, hasn’t been good for a few years, and a non-baseball player could have done better than him.
Ignore him AL. Its a virtual signal comment. They feel better after they virtue signal on something that normally they woukdnt give 2 squats for.
I’m glad that you said it first.
There are a bunch of virtue signaling snowflakes here, Al. Go Polk High!
Virtue signaling doesn’t mean what you think it means.
Criticizes something they can’t even spell properly. You can’t make this up.
Then you have “experts” on what virtue signaling is….you cant make this stuff up.
Get Off My Mound
I guess you could consider my comment a “virtual signal”. It was virtually sent, and it signaled you about it, so you have a point there.
Al Bundy: Don’t apologize to these censorship-obsessed tantrumming Wokies for an innocent joke. Just the part about not knowing that she was sick sufficed.
Curly: There sure *ARE* a bunch of virtue-signaling snowflakes here! It’s unbelievable. (More likely, actually, is that some organization pays them to spend all day, every day, online, Wokie-tantrumming about this and that and everything.)
Get Off My Mound
People really will do all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify someone making a really poor-in-taste “joke” about someone’s mom who’s got cancer. But hey, whatever helps you all sleep at night. Honestly, it’s just sad to see how many of the internet cellar-dwellers and bottom feeders hang out on this amazing baseball website. I come here for baseball news, and baseball news only, but sometimes people make such asinine comments like these, I just find it hard sometimes not to point out its ridiculousness.
Get Off My Mound: Why are you so presumptuous, and such a defamer?! You seem very bigoted.
With a 40% K rate forget his swing and send the poor guy to a good optometrist.
There should be a rule that no high-rated prospect can get out of the minors until they have a full season of a K/W of 2:1 or better
It’s about time. He should’ve been nontendered in the first place.
Welcome to Philly
Don’t like to see someone go bust like that. I hope he lands on his feet and figured things out. There will be a few teams willing to take a lottery ticket on him.
The photo at the top says it all. Just look at that upper cut. Another victim of the launch angle craze.
Ryan Mountcastle for Andrew Painter. Who says no?
What says no, Who’s on first.
The Phillies block BAL’s number.
The Phillies and anybody who has watched Andrew Painter pitch. And I say this as someone who thinks that Mountcastle could be quite good.
Philly still says no even if they were under the influence of a truckload of crack.
Painter will be done for 1.5 years, just a matter of time. So Orioles say no.
O’s still say yes if he needs tommy John, let’s be real here.
I assume Voit makes it then. The brewers sure do love big first basemen.
An RH bat to platoon with Tellez.
Fine for 2023. But as the burgeoning team core led by the young OF’s and C get up to speed, the Brewers FO will have to address 1B if they want to be legitimate contenders.
I agree Voit is underrated. I’m just saying the love big 1B: Thames, Aguilar, Smoak, Vogelbach, Tellez, Voit are all pretty big guys.
The Brewers like fat 1B’s. The fan base has a guy to relate too…Huira can’t lay off, nor hit, high cheese. Good luck fixing that. He also can’t field or throw. Welcome to the Mexican league
Astros. He potentially becomes one of the options at second while Altuve is out.
The Astros put a high priority on defense…especially up the middle.
That is exactly why they did not trade for Willson Contreras when he was still with the Cubs despite the rumors.
Have you seen him play second? He is great as long as he doesn’t need to field or throw.
No, they don’t want him at 2B.
Welcome to Oakland
Nope, you had your shot. Would’ve given him to you for Puk, but you went with Bleday who’s just as bad.
At this point, a change of scenery — while cliche — is likely what’s best for Hiura. The strikeout issues may ultimately prove too much to overcome, but hopefully a fresh start can inspire his bat!
Getting cut is always a good motivator!
I’m his case, a good motivator to get a passport. He’s gonna have to play in a foreign land.
At age 25, Marlins should kick the tires here. We’ll need someone if Yuri opts out, and Cooper goes on his annual leave on the IL.
I would like say a potential fit would be the red Sox
I’m sure someone will take a flier. Naquin too.
Houston has a corporate philosophy of high walks/low strikeouts. I wonder if they could fix him.
This is a chance for Chaim Bloom to finally get one over on Milwaukee… just his style too, right from the dumpster but the reality for Hiura is he makes contact and maybe a fresh start and an opportunity will go good for him.
Watched and followed him in college. Looked like he’d hit anywhere. And did for a while.
Dodgers have worked wonder with Turner and Muncy over the years. He kind of fits that profile.
Might be better for him long term to spend a year in the minors making sustainable improvements.
Braves front office wanted him at No. 5 overall in 2017. Scouts wanted Austin Beck. Kyle Wright ended up falling to them instead.
Hiura went 304 picks before the Nationals selected Trey Turner. Go figure.
Trea Turner was a 1st rounder in 2014 by San Diego. Traded to Nats the following year.
That would be RHP Trey Turner, the Nationals 10th round pick in 2017.
Hey Keston, I think the Phillies are on the phone…
Ah, scratch that, they’re busing calling Luke Voit instead.
Reminds me of Scooter Gennett. Reds will pick him up and ride his hot bat to a 4th place finish!
The Brewers, a contender, do not want him and he lacks he ability to play major league baseball so let’s speculate that the Phillies, a contender, may have interest. Why must the author of these articles constantly pull an absurd prediction out of thin air? Just let the story stand on its own.
Brewers a contender? That’s funny!
Voit has a much stronger work ethic and team attitude than Hiura who has always been about himself first.
First I’ve heard this. By all reports Keston is a good guy.