KEON BROXTON, CENTER FIELDER
|Born: May 7, 1990
Drafted: 3rd Round, 95th Overall, 2009 (Diamondbacks)
How Acquired: Trade with Diamondbacks (for cash)
College: Santa Fe CC (FL)
Agent: Reynolds Sports Management
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Broxton is an impressive athlete who’s struggled to hit as a pro. He has good speed and is above-average defensively in center, with a plus arm. At the plate, he doesn’t recognize pitches well and has trouble with breaking balls, leading to extremely high K rates. His athleticism got him rated among the Diamondbacks’ top 10-17 prospects by Baseball America from 2009 through 2012, but a poor season in AA in 2012 got him removed from the team’s 40-man roster. The Pirates acquired him for cash at the end of spring training in 2014.
In his debut in advanced rookie ball, Broxton hit for good power but with an alarming K rate.
Broxton had pretty much the same season in low A, with a few more walks and much less power.
The D’backs sent Broxton back to low A initially and he struggled, but they promoted him after a few weeks anyway. In the hitting-happy California League, he struggled, continuing to strike out at a prodigious rate. He did draw walks at a very good rate and improve his base stealing efficiency.
The D’backs sent Broxton back to the California League and he showed considerable improvement, especially in the form of greater power and a moderately improved K rate. His overall numbers, though, weren’t impressive in the context of the league. After the season, Arizona added Broxton to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
Broxton missed the first month of the season with a broken finger, then went to AA. He struggled there, with his K rate vaulting back up over once for every three ABs. After the season, Arizona removed him from its 40-man roster and outrighted him to AA.
Broxton had a semi-breakout season, hitting for power, drawing walks and putting up a career-high batting average. His K rate did improve from 2013, but remained at better than one every three and a half ABs. Broxton started the season playing only semi-regularly, but hit himself into an everyday role in May. He had some rather amazing ups and downs during the season, as shown by his monthly OPS:
Broxton had a reverse platoon split, with an OPS that was 100 points higher against RHPS than LHPs. He played left while Mel Rojas was with the team, but moved to center afterward. Either way, he showed impressive range.
Although he was eligible for the Rule 5 draft, the Pirates did not add Broxton to the roster, possibly an indication that they didn’t believe the strong 2014 offensive numbers were real, and he was not selected. The Indianapolis roster was loaded with veterans — Jose Tabata, Gorkys Hernandez, Jaff Decker, Steve Lombardozzi among others — so the Pirates sent Broxton back to Altoona to open 2015. He hit much the same as the previous year, only not quite as well. The Pirates moved him up to AAA at the end of May and he spent the rest of the season playing all three outfield positions for Indianapolis. His hitting in AAA was similar to AA, except not quite as good. He continued to produce good power and draw walks, but had significant problems making contact. Broxton got off to a bad start in AAA, posting a .551 OPS for the month of June, but his OPS was over .800 every month after that. He stole a lot of bases at both stops, although it would help if he was a little more efficient at it. Broxton struggled against LHPs, with a .642 OPS against them and .851 against RHPs. Once Indianapolis lost in the International League finals, the Pirates called Broxton up. He served mainly as a pinch runner, but got two ABs and a few innings in the outfield.
Broxton would have been eligible for minor league free agency after the season if the Pirates hadn’t added him to the 40-man roster. Whether they intend to keep him on the roster into the 2016 season remains to be seen. He could be a useful player as a backup in the majors. He’s a plus runner and defender, including in center field. He also has some power and will take a walk. On the down side, his very high K rates suggest he might not be able to hit at all at the major league level, and the Pirates aren’t lacking for center fielders in the majors. At 25, he’s not young for a prospect, either.
|2016: Major League Minimum
2015: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $358,000
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: 9/21/2015
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/21/2012
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2013)
MLB Service Time: 0.014
|June 6, 2008: Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 29th round, 886th overall.
June 10, 2009: Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round, 95th overall; signed on June 20.
November 21, 2012: Contract purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
October 3, 2013: Outrighted to AA by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
March 27, 2014: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash.
September 21, 2015: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.