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Every star's visibility starts with a shimmer before the glow, before you feel the heat. In the case of the Milwaukee Brewers 2017 first round draft pick, it took less than a year for the radiance of potential to show itself. The strong numbers in 2018 were rewarded with a promotion, and rewarded the front offices faith by putting up preposterous 1.106 OPS in AAA San Antonio. Milwaukee and the sample size, albeit a short one, and an injured Travis Shaw was enough to force the Brewers hand promote Hiura to the show, where a strong rookie performance would endear him to fans and aid the Crew to a wild card berth. Then the wheels fell off.
A microcosm of the planet as a whole, Major League Baseball as an entire entity was suddenly forced mid-Spring training to throw the season into a tenuous state of hibernation as COVID-19 began it's campaign as a worldwide scourge. The state of the game emerged as a bizarre, almost morbid simulacrum of the game as it's known. Minor league baseball simply didn't exist, and all sixty games of the 2020 Major League Baseball season were played in cavernous stadiums, completely devoid of fans and their noise. Echoing the essence of the cardboard cutouts being used ineffectively to substitute for fans in seats, Keston Hiura showed up as a shell of his former self. A hint of power still lived in his bat, mustering thirteen home runs in 246 at-bats, but accompanying the middling power numbers were objectively bad stats on defense and hitting. His BABIP slid from .402 to an ugly .273, and his already problematic whiff rate only climbed hire. What's worse? Those numbers went from ugly to disgusting in 2021, where he was almost a full point negative in the WAR department.
The analysis attached to Keston Hiura's narrative can only be projected through the murkiest of lenses. For someone with fewer than a thousand plate appearances to their name, who is somehow only 25, it sure feels like Keston Hiura has been part of the Brewers organization for as long as I can remember. It also seems true that he's a player who is capable of the big, difference making moment, and having authored one walk off in each of his years so far, there's at least some semblance of truth to that. As unsatisfying as it is, the derailing effect of a pandemic to a young player's development and factors that don't exist in any metric (the yips come to mind) seem like logical candidates to have thrown a wrench in the logical arc of Keston Hiura's potential.
These factors don't stop fans from being blind to the glimmer of young player who's presence in a big league uniform was once clamored for, nor does it stop some of the more myopic base of so-called Brewers fans from inexplicably calling for the head of the extremely successful manager they've been blessed with. It would seem suggestible though, to lend some circumstantial padding between Keston Hiura and his release from the Milwaukee Brewers. After all, it wasn't all that long ago that the refrain of "Corbin Burnes sucks! Trade him for a bag of bats!" flooded the airwaves, and last I checked, patience paid off on that front. And that OPS? Up to .821 from .557 last year.