Second baseman Keston Hiura, the Milwaukee Brewers’ No. 1 minor-league prospect, was named the most valuable player of the Arizona Fall League on Saturday.
Hiura, the Brewers’ first-round draft pick in 2017, batted .323 with five home runs and a league-best 33 runs batted in for the Peoria Javelinas, who played in the AFL championship game Saturday against Salt River. Hiura, 22, compiled a .371 on-base percentage with a .563 slugging percentage.
The AFL is considered a finishing school of sorts for top prospects and includes some of the top young talent in the game every year.
“It’s exciting,” Hiura told MLB Pipeline. “It’s been a big honor and I’ve had a great time out here, meeting new people, playing against some of the best talent around the world. I’m excited to be here and I’m grateful to receive this award.“
Hiura has hit at every stop since going pro, including splitting the 2018 season at advanced Class A Carolina and Class AA Biloxi. In 123 games, he batted .293 with 34 doubles, 13 home runs, 43 RBI and .821 OPS. His year started with an impressive showing in the Brewers’ spring camp.
Hiura was dealing with an elbow injury when the Brewers made him the ninth overall pick out of Cal-Irvine, and he has been playing catch-up in the field ever since. Part of the reason for his assignment to the AFL was to get more reps in the field but his offense again is what stood out.
“I wasn’t able to start off last season at second base – DH’d for the first month – so to be able to get that month back here (helped) against players that are smoking balls at you, making you move, different shifts as well,” Hiura told MLB Pipeline. “All that comes together, it definitely helps you feel a little more comfortable out here.”