As I sat down to write this column, I spent a few solid minutes (and some would say, unproductive minutes) trying to decide how many current MLB names legitimately look cooler on paper than Keston Hiura.
Seranthony Dominguez is up there. That’s the name of a knight who happens to throw 100+ mph.
Carter Kieboom belongs in the conversation.
Richard Lovelady is legendary.
Skye Bolt was way up there before his recent demotion.
Noah Syndergaard is obviously pretty strong, especially if you replace Noah with Thor.
So yeah, there are a ton of awesome baseball names to consider. But there’s something aesthetically pleasing about Keston Hiura — full name Keston Wee Hing Natsuo Hiura — a name that quietly screams intrigue. It also helps that the owner of the name can really hit.
On Tuesday, the Brewers called up Hiura, hitting .333/.408/.698 with 11 homers and four steals at Triple-A, to take over at second base. (Travis Shaw, proprietor of a less dynamic name and stat line — including a .548 OPS — has been sent to the IL with a strained right wrist.)
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hiura was rostered in just 34 percent of Yahoo leagues — a number that was up to 46 percent by the time Hiura had finished off a 2-for-3 big league debut — so act quickly. Rotoworld prospect czar Chris Crawford recently called Hiura a “must-grab if/when he gets the call”, and that time, it turns out, is right now.
Perhaps no starting pitcher was more scrutinized early on this season than Chris Sale, who was 0-4 with an 8.50 ERA and 1.56 WHIP with just 14 strikeouts in his first 18 innings. Sale had already turned things around prior to Tuesday, striking out 10 and then 14 in favorable matchups against the White Sox and Orioles his last two times out. On Tuesday though, he took it to another level.
Pitching at Fenway against the Rockies, Sale struck out a career-high 17 in seven innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs, giving him a 1.29 ERA and 0.48 WHIP over his last three starts, with an obscene 41/1 K/BB ratio in 21 innings.
Junior Goes Yard
Speaking of scrutiny, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. entered Tuesday’s game against the Giants hitting .191 (9-for-47). He had no home runs and one RBI. That all changed decisively in San Fran, when Vlad Jr. hit a pair of rockets for his first career homers, going 3-for-4 with four RBI, raising his average to .235 in the process. All along, the consensus thought process was He’s too good to struggle like this for long, but this night validated that line of thinking very quickly.
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New York Setbacks
It’s been this kind of season for Giancarlo Stanton so far: now over his left biceps strain, he’s dealing with what manager Aaron Boone has called “some lingering shoulder stuff”, also being labeled a left shoulder strain. There’s a little bit of a mixed message here, as Boone said: “Hopefully, he’ll get more at-bats and we’ll start thinking about [a rehab assignment].” He then added that Stanton “doesn’t have a perfect shoulder, by any means.”
It’s a slightly murky situation, and hopefully one that resolves itself better than the less-than-perfect shoulder of Miguel Andujar. The latest word is that the Yankees are set to decide whether or not Andujar will undergo shoulder surgery in the next 24 hours. If he doesn’t have surgery, he’s headed for more rehab. Overall, it’s getting tougher and tougher for fantasy owners to justify holding onto Andujar, who’s 6-for-47 on the season.
And it’s been this kind of season for Jed Lowrie: Originally on track to make his season debut this week after recovering from a sprained left knee capsule, the 35-year-old has now been diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. Lowrie, who hit 23 homers with 99 RBI last season and is rostered in just 18 percent of Yahoo leagues, is now slated to miss “at least another few weeks.”
AL Quick Hits: Mitch Garver hit his ninth home run, but had to be helped off the field after injuring his leg on a play at the plate. The initial diagnosis is a high ankle sprain, with more tests on the way Wednesday. … Elvis Andrus left Tuesday’s game with left hamstring tightness. … Mike Clevinger (back) threw a 20-pitch bullpen. … A struggling Jose Ramirez hit his fourth homer, while recent callup Oscar Mercado struck out three times and scored a run in his big league debut. … George Springer continued his tear with home run No. 16, tying Christian Yelich for the MLB lead. … Kyle Seager (hand) went 1-for-4 with a double in his first rehab game and is eligible to be activated on May 25. … Nelson Cruz (wrist) was out of the lineup. … Ditto Dee Gordon. … Charlie Morton lowered his ERA to 2.32 with six scoreless innings against the Marlins. ... David Price (elbow) is scheduled for another bullpen on Wednesday and could return this weekend. … Nicky Lopez made his big league debut for the Royals and went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI, hitting second. … Andrew Heaney (elbow) will pitch in an extended spring training game on Wednesday. … Felix Hernandez has a Grade 1 strain of his right lat. … Shohei Ohtani went 3-for-4 with an RBI. … Miguel Sano (heel) played in his 10th minor league rehab game and went 2-for-5. … The Yankees picked up Kendrys Morales from the A’s for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
NL Quick Hits: The latest gem for Kyle Hendricks featured eight innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts, and a 3-for-4 showing at the plate — with two RBI — in a 3-1 win over the Reds. He now has a 1.95 ERA over his last five starts, and so far in May, he’s given up one earned run in 25 innings, with 12 hits, one walk and 17 strikeouts. … Mike Foltynewicz got lit up for eight earned runs in 4 2/3 innings and is now carrying an 8.02 ERA after dealing with elbow trouble this spring. … Trea Turner (finger) was set to start a rehab assignment on Tuesday. … Josh Bell hit his 11th and 12th homers, equaling his total for all of last season. ... Brandon Morrow (elbow) will be reevaluated later this week. … Major League Baseball has placed Julio Urias on 7-day administrative leave (which can extend beyond seven days) after he was arrested on Monday night on suspicion of domestic battery. … Drew Steckenrider is getting an ominous second opinion on his elbow from Dr. James Andrews. … Manny Machado hit a monster homer off Clayton Kershaw, his ninth, in his return to Dodger Stadium. ... The Rockies optioned preseason sleeper Garrett Hampson to Triple-A. … Anthony Rizzo (back) is hoping to return in a couple of days. … Scooter Gennett (groin) did a little bit of infield work on Tuesday, his first baseball activity since his injury at the end of spring training. … Buster Posey (concussion) is on course to return Friday. … Ryan Zimmerman (foot) took grounders and swung a bat on Tuesday. … Steve Cishek picked up another save with Pedro Strop (hamstring) sidelined.