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 presumably 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% 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.
More to come.