With the ninth pick in the draft, the Brewers have selected Keston Hiura from UC Irvine. In mock drafts, Hiura was projected to go 5th by MLB.com, 6th by Baseball America, and 10th by ESPN.
The good news: Hiura is arguably the best pure hitter in this year’s draft class. He’s got a refined plate approach and is a fantastic contact hitter, having posted a career .375 batting average over three seasons at UC Irvine. His plate discipline was also elite this season, as he walked 50 times in 56 games.
The bad news: Hiura lacks a true position, and he hasn’t played the field all year due to an elbow injury that some believe may require Tommy John surgery. Whenever he gets healthy enough to start playing defense again, he’ll likely fit in as a second baseman or left fielder, but clearly he’ll be expected to improve defensively as a pro since he lacks elite power and relies on his on-base percentage to achieve success.
The fact that Hiura seems to be a high-floor, low-ceiling hitter would lead one to believe that he’ll be able to reach the majors sooner than later. But if he ends up having Tommy John, that could delay his ascent up the minor-league ladder.
For more on Hiura, check out Chris Cotillo’s Q&A with him.