StaTuesday: Brewers 2B Hiura’s spectacular rookie season
While fans were clamoring for the recall of the No. 9 overall pick from the 2017 draft as early as, well, spring training, Hiura didn’t land with the Brewers until May 14. He stayed only a couple weeks, but was back at the end of June, this time here to stay.
Hiura turned out to be as good as advertised at the plate.
He finished second on Milwaukee to only Christian Yelich in batting average (.303), slugging percentage (.570) and OPS (.938), and was third on the club in on-base percentage (.368).
Since 2000, Hiura’s .938 OPS is 11th-highest among rookies with at least 300 plate appearances. Of the 10 players with a higher OPS, five were rookies of the year and two more (the Astros’ Yordan Alvarez and the Mets’ Pete Alonso) could win the award in 2019.
HIGHEST ROOKIE OPS (MIN. 300 PA) SINCE 2000
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||Padres||2019||372||.969|
|Jose Abreau||White Sox||2014||622||.964|
But Hiura has a leg up on the other 10 – his position.
Among second baseman in MLB history, only one rookie who played at least half of his games at that position that season with at least 300 plate appearances had a better OPS than Hiura: Pete Browning, who played for the Louisville Eclipse of the American Association in 1882. We’ll save you the math, that was 137 years ago.
In fact, of the top-five OPS by a rookie second baseman (using the above qualifies), two played in the American Association and another in the Federal League.
HIGHEST ROOKIE OPS FOR 2B IN MLB HISTORY
As one might expect given the numbers above, Hiura had one of the top first seasons in Brewers history. In fact, it can be easily categorized as the franchise’s second-best rookie year, behind just Ryan Braun’s award-winning 2007 season.
Hiura joined Braun as the only Brewers rookies with an .900+ OPS.
Hiura was also the fourth Brewers rookie to hit .300 in his first year, and had the third-best mark overall.
And Hiura might have only played in 84 games, but only Braun and Prince Fielder had more home runs in a Brewers rookie season than Milwaukee’s second baseman.