Whatever playoff hopes that the Milwaukee Brewers still have suffered a devastating blow last night when Keston Hiura limped off the field during a loss to the Cubs. Hiura left the team to come back to Milwaukee for further examination, and this morning the club has announced that he’ll hit the injured list with a hamstring strain:
OF Ben Gamel and 3B Travis Shaw have been recalled from Triple-A San Antonio. 2B Keston Hiura (strained left hamstring) placed on the 10-day injured list. RHP Devin Williams optioned to San Antonio. pic.twitter.com/2AonfA1Gs4— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 31, 2019
Hiura, 23, has looked to be every bit of the offensive superstar that was hoped for during his rookie season with Milwaukee. He owns a .301/.369/.571 slash line in 70 games, clubbing 16 home runs and stealing nine bases. His 138 wRC+ is second-best on the team, behind only Christian Yelich. His defense at second base hasn’t exactly been stellar, but he has been worth nearly two wins above replacement by every calculation in less than a half-season of plate appearances. He has been one of the offense’s main catalysts since day one, often batting cleanup even as a rookie.
Also heading back to the minors, though likely for only a short stint, is right-hander Devin Williams. Another rookie who shot through the minors this year, Williams has made eight appearances and thrown nine innings since getting called up in early August. He’s looked good at times but has also flashed consistency issues, allowing four earned runs with eight strikeouts and five walks. Williams figures to be back after a minimum 10-day stay in the minors as rosters expand in September.
Two players are returning to the big leagues, with the more notable one being infielder Travis Shaw. The 29 year old has suffered a catastrophic fall-off in production this season after hitting 30+ homers in 2017 and 2018; his .162/.276/.279 slash is one of the worst lines in the majors. His Triple-A production, however, has been terrific. Shaw owns a cumulative .286/.437/.586 batting line with 12 homers in 42 games with San Antonio, including a .286/.418/.571 slash with 3 homers in 14 games since his latest banishment starting on August 13th. With Hiura on the shelf, the opportunity could be there for Shaw to reclaim his spot in the organization’s future plans if he can have a strong September. If he continues to flounder, though, the loss of Hiura could be the final nail in the coffin for Milwaukee’s playoff hopes in 2019.
Also coming back is outfielder Ben Gamel, who has spent almost the entire season with Milwaukee outside of a recent four-game stint with San Antonio. He’s hit .243/.330/.376 overall in 291 plate appearances for the Brewers this year, smacking seven homers and swiping a pair of bases. But his playing time as fourth outfielder dwindled when his bat went cold and Trent Grisham emerged, leading to his option to the Missions a week ago amidst a roster crunch. Gamel posted a .974 OPS with a homer and a steal in 19 plate appearances in the minors.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs