Keston Hiura on the rise as other fantasy contributors go down

Matt Stroup
Rotoworld

When Keston Hiura first arrived in the big leagues back in mid-May, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 Draft more or less did exactly what he was supposed to: He hit .281 with five home runs, nine RBI and an .865 OPS in his first 17 games.

Then he got demoted. 

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Even with some plate discipline issues for Hiura early on (three walks and 23 strikeouts in those first 17 games), and even though the Brewers apparently felt the need to make room for Travis Shaw, this demotion still seemed uncalled for. After all, Hiura had homered in two of his last three games with five RBI prior to being sent down.

But it’s time to stop complaining about it, because I now feel confident saying the exact same thing I felt confident saying before: Hiura is here to stay. 

Since his return in late June, all he has done is smash homers and steal bases — in his 15 games back with the Brewers, he has four homers (including an opposite field job on Tuesday night) and four steals, with a .357 average. That includes 12 hits in his last five games after a 3-for-3 Tuesday evening. Overall, with the Brewers this season, he's hitting .317 with nine home runs, five stolen bases and a .975 OPS.

The other good news: As of this writing, he was still available in more than half of Yahoo leagues — 55 percent of them, to be exact. 

Hiura may not continue running at this pace (he had seven steals in 57 games in the minors this year), but his potential as a hitter and fantasy option right now is pretty monstrous. Between the majors and the minors this season, Hiura has 28 home runs and 12 steals.

EARLY EXITS: BRUCE, JIMENEZ, MONDESI

Jay Bruceleft Tuesday night’s game after sustaining a right oblique injury, a rough turn of events for a player who had hit .261 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in his first 32 games with the Phillies — and entered Tuesday sitting inside the top 15 in all of baseball with 24 homers. There’s no word yet on the severity, but an oblique obviously is not typically a quick recovery. (As one recent example,Joey Gallo — who hit his 22nd home run on Tuesday — missed three weeks in June with his oblique strain.)

Another hot-hitting outfielder leaving early on Tuesday wasEloy Jimenez, who departed with right elbow soreness after a collision with teammateCharlie Tilson. Jimenez, who has 11 homers, 25 RBI and a .969 OPS the last five weeks, wasundergoing further examinationas of late Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, MLB stolen base leaderAdalberto Mondesideparted the same game after laying out in foul territory and landing awkwardly on his arm. He’s set to undergo an MRI on Wednesday, so it’s going to be a tense wait for fantasy owners until the results come back. Mondesi picked up two hits and his 31st stolen base before leaving the game.

Also injured on Tuesday —Kenley Jansen, who blew a save and was “limping heavily” after taking a comebacker off his right ankle. (For what it’s worth, the injury is being called a bruise.) In that same game,Hector Nerisblew a save and then got ejected after hittingDavid Freesein the top of the ninth. Then Jansen entered and gave up a walk-off, two-RBI double toBryce Harper. It was the fourth blown save for Jansen (and for Neris as well).

On a more cheerful injury note,Mike Troutavoided anything seriouswith his calf and could return on Wednesday.  

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AL Quick Hits:The Rangers activatedHunter Pence(groin) and optioned Willie Calhoun to Triple-A. …Corey Kluber(arm) will throw his first bullpen session on Wednesday. …Xander Bogaertshad three hits for a third consecutive game, and drilled his 21st home run, giving him four homers in his last five games and five in his last seven. …Carlos Correa(ribs) went 0-for-3 Monday at Triple-A and is expected to come off the IL when first eligible on July 26. …Ken Giles(elbow) threw a 20-pitch bullpen. … Random dominant pitching performance of the night:Glenn Sparkman(5.18 ERA, 1.43 WHIP heading into Tuesday) threw a complete-game shutout against the White Sox. … Speaking of the Royals, Mark Feinsand ofMLB.comreports that the team has entered “sell mode”, which may include a trade ofIan Kennedy(14 saves, 3.32 ERA, 46/9 K/BB in 38 innings; owed $16.5 million in 2020). …Felix Hernandez(lat) is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Thursday, whileHunter Strickland(lat) could begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week. …Stephen Piscotty(knee) should start a minor league rehab assignment about a week from now. …Brandon Lowe(shin) ran on the field as he gets closer to a return. … The Twins activatedC.J. Cron(thumb) andEddie Rosario(ankle), while placingByron Buxtonon the 7-day concussion injured list. Cron and Rosario both had two-hit games in their returns to action. …Matt Chapmanhit his 22nd homer and drove in five, whileMatt Olsonhit No. 20. ... Jesus Luzardo (shoulder) has been playing catch from 90 feet. …Didi Gregoriushit his fourth career grand slam. …Andrew Cashnerallowed five earned runs in five innings with just two strikeouts in his Red Sox debut. …Oscar Mercado(23 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues) hit his seventh homer and stole his eighth base. …Dylan Ceaseallowed six runs (four earned) in six innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. … The Indians recalledZach Plesac, who threw three scoreless innings in a rain-shortened spot start against Detroit, and optioned Bobby Bradley to Triple-A.

NL Quick Hits:Christian Yelichhit his second career grand slam — home run No. 33 on the season — and stole his 23rd base. …A.J. Pollockhomered for the third game in a row. … Max Scherzer(back) played catch in the outfield before Tuesday’s game against Baltimore. … Diamondbacks leftyAlex Young followed up his six no-hit innings against the Rockies by limiting the Rangers to one run in 5 1/3 innings. Overall, he now has a 0.96 ERA through his first 18 2/3 innings, but it's worth remembering that Young had a 6.09 ERA and 1.68 WHIP at Triple-A this year. ... Brendan Rodgersis done for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a labrum tear in his right shoulder. … Tim Healey ofNewsdayreports that there’sno structural damageinZack Wheeler’s shoulder. …Maikel Franco(groin) was out of the Phillies lineup on Tuesday. Also for the Phillies,Jean Segura(heel) wasn’t in the lineup and is considered day-to-day.Scott Kingerystarted at shortstop in his place and hit his 13th homer. … The Cardinals placedMatt Carpenteron the 10-day IL with a right foot contusion. … The Braves placedMax Fried(blister) on the 10-day IL. …Rich Hill(forearm) has been cleared to begin a throwing progression on Thursday, though he’s still expected to be out until September. …Johnny Cueto(elbow) is on track to start a minor league rehab assignment in early August. …Jameson Taillon(elbow) threw from 90 feet. …Evan Longoria(foot) is expected to be sidelined for 2-4 weeks. … The Nationals will call up Erick Fedde to start against the Orioles on Wednesday. …Brandon Woodruffstruck out seven while holding the Braves to one run in 6 2/3 innings. ... Franmil Reyeswas scratched from the starting lineup on Tuesday, but hit his 26th homer as a pinch-hitter. …Garrett Cooperhomered for the fourth time in his last five games. …Kyle Schwarberhit a walk-off homer to beat the Reds, his 21st. …Jordan Yamamotopicked up his fourth win while allowing two earned runs in five innings against the Padres. …Jesse Winker(back) returned to the lineup on Tuesday. …Pablo Lopez(shoulder) threw a 20-pitch bullpen, whileDrew Steckenrider(elbow) threw a 15-pitch session. ... Seunghwan Ohis set to undergo a season-ending cleanup procedure on his right elbow.

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