MILWAUKEE -- It was a relatively quiet finish to the first half for Brewers hitting savant Keston Hiura, who returned from the All-Star break intent on making a statement.
It’s safe to say he did that. And besides making a statement, Hiura made a fan.
“Jeez, he’s one of those young kids that I’ve seen in the league that they’re making busts of for the Hall of Fame,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said after Hiura knocked two more doubles in the Brewers’ 5-4 win over the Braves on Wednesday at Miller Park. “My God, that kid can really hit.”
Here’s the raw data:
• Hiura capped a big homestand with his best series to date in the Major Leagues, going 8-for-11 with three doubles, a triple, a home run, two walks and four RBIs while the Brewers took two of three games from the Braves. Hiura played in all six of the Brewers’ games against the Braves this season and collected multiple hits in five of them.
• In six games on the homestand, Hiura went 14-for-23 with eight extra-base hits. He reached safely in 18 of 27 plate appearances.
• Looking back to before the break, Hiura has hit safely in seven straight games and 13 of 15 games. He has a 1.201 OPS during that 15-game span.
“It’s always good to be able to feel the ball go off the barrel and to find those holes or whatnot,” Hiura said. “Especially at the start of the second half after the All-Star break, I kind of wanted to really make a statement for myself, just to prove to myself that, ‘You know what you’re doing,’ and not press too much or anything like that. ‘Just do what you do.’”
Manager Craig Counsell’s reaction to the results?
“Wow,” Counsell said. “Just driving the ball, hard contact. The ability to hit the ball past the outfielders consistently. It was a special three games, man. It was fun to watch.”
“That guy's been unbelievable,” said Brewers starter Chase Anderson. “To see his swing, how short it is to the ball and how he hits the ball so hard to right-center field. It's super impressive for such a young guy. I remember when he got drafted, he hit BP with our team and was crushing balls into the opponent's bullpen. [You're thinking,] 'This guy's going to be up here quick,' and shoot, not two years later, he's in the big leagues.”
Hiura has made a good early impression. Among Major Leaguers with at least 100 plate appearances, his 152 weighted runs created plus puts him 14th, right between Anthony Rendon of the Nationals and Kris Bryant of the Cubs. His .605 slugging percentage is 10th, right between two other hotshot rookies -- Pete Alonso of the Mets and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres.
With those results, it is difficult to imagine Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns entertaining offers for Hiura at the July 31 Trade Deadline, though clubs holding the top pitchers on the market would surely begin their ask with the 22-year-old.
“He’s really talented, and I think he’s starting to get acclimated to the big leagues and how they’re going to attack him,” said Brewers star Christian Yelich of Hiura. “He’s done a great job so far.”