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Arizona Fall League

Hiura provides heroics with grand slam in AFL

Brewers top prospect delivers clutch hit for second straight day
MLB.com @JonathanMayo

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The big hits keep on coming for Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura. For the second Arizona Fall League game, the 2017 first-round pick delivered with the bases loaded.

Hiura, No. 1 on the Brewers' Top 30 Prospects list and No. 30 overall, came to the plate in the top of the seventh inning with the bases packed with his Peoria Javelinas and the score tied at one. Facing Yankees reliever Kyle Zurak, Hiura crushed a 2-1 pitch deep onto the berm in left-center field to give the Javs a 5-1 lead in an eventual 7-4 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs. Hiura had a bases-clearing double in the opening game on Tuesday and now has seven RBIs with two swings of the bat, going 3-for-7 overall in the early going.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The big hits keep on coming for Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura. For the second Arizona Fall League game, the 2017 first-round pick delivered with the bases loaded.

Hiura, No. 1 on the Brewers' Top 30 Prospects list and No. 30 overall, came to the plate in the top of the seventh inning with the bases packed with his Peoria Javelinas and the score tied at one. Facing Yankees reliever Kyle Zurak, Hiura crushed a 2-1 pitch deep onto the berm in left-center field to give the Javs a 5-1 lead in an eventual 7-4 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs. Hiura had a bases-clearing double in the opening game on Tuesday and now has seven RBIs with two swings of the bat, going 3-for-7 overall in the early going.

"I'm just looking to hit the ball hard, be aggressive at the plate, especially with the bases loaded, get a ball in the zone I could drive and find a gap somewhere," Hiura said.

Box score  

Hiura went 2-for-7 with four RBIs with the bases loaded during the regular season, so he's already outstripped his run production in those situations over two AFL games. On Tuesday, he hit a first-pitch fastball. This time, it was a 2-1 slider he drove close to the deepest part of the ballpark.

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"It kind of helped to start off 1-0 because of the pitch clock," Hiura said of the ball that was added because Zurak didn't start his delivery in time. "In that case, the approach doesn't change: Get a ball over the plate you can drive and put the barrel on it. As a hitter, it's one of the most fun at-bats and scenarios you can be in.

"The pressure is on the pitcher to throw a strike. As a hitter, you're in the driver's seat, being able to stay within yourself and know he's going to come at you with some of his best stuff. You can't change your approach or go after pitches you don't normally swing at."

Hiura is coming off of a first full season of pro ball that saw him play in the Futures Game, reach Double-A and hit a combined .293/.357/.464 with 13 homers. Hiura finished off his Double-A season with a bang, hitting in nine of his last 10 games (15-for-43, .349 average) after scuffling for most of August, so he's picking up right where he left off.

And while it's highly unlikely that he's going to continue driving in runs at this clip, given that the typical regular player gets around 20 to 25 games in a Fall League season, he's on pace for about 140 RBIs.

"That'd be a good six weeks here," Hiura laughed. "My teammates are getting on base and I'm just trying to put the ball in play."

The league record for RBIs in a season is 44, by Astros' Orlando Miller for the Tucson Rafters in 1993.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.