With full squad workouts beginning this week and exhibition games kicking off this weekend, the MMO editors will be breaking down our top players to watch in camp. To kick things off, I will be discussing centerfielder Keon Broxton.
The Mets acquired Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers in early January in exchange for RHP Bobby Wahl, RHP Adam Hill, and INF Felix Valerio. The 28-year old centerfielder is certainly an interesting player to watch as Spring Training progresses.
Of course, one of the main reasons to keep an eye on Broxton whenever he takes the field is because of his defensive abilities. Throughout his career, Broxton has made some phenomenal game changing catches and throws in center. Last season with the Brewers, he appeared in just 51 games, and posted a stellar 11 defensive runs saved and a 1.6 WAR. Between him and Juan Lagares, the Mets outfield defense is certainly going to be fun to watch in 2019.
Entering camp, Broxton figures to be competing with Lagares and Jeff McNeil for the final spot in the outfield beside Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. While McNeil likely will end up seeing the bulk of the playing time, Broxton could certainly serve as a nice right-handed hitting complement.
On top of his elite defense, Broxton brings in a solid combo of speed and power. While serving as the Brewers’ starting centerfielder in 2017, Broxton smacked 20 home runs and stole 21 bases in 28 attempts. Not only will his speed help the Mets, but also his ability to hit left-handed pitching.
As we all know, this was a big issues for the Mets in 2018. Throughout his four-year big league career, Broxton has posted a 116 OPS+ and .790 OPS against southpaws.
The biggest knock on Broxton to this point in his career has been his high strikeout numbers. Two years ago, he struck out 175 times, which was the tenth highest mark in the league. He has also been punched out at a clip of 37 percent during his big league career.
The biggest thing I am looking for with Broxton this Spring Training, is if he can make the necessary adjustments at the plate. The other day on Twitter Broxton mentioned that he has already made some changes to his swing. It will be interesting to see if he can increase his upside by cutting down the strikeouts.
Much like JD Davis, Broxton is a guy who never really received a fair shot at the big league level. His chance for regular playing time ended up being blocked in Milwaukee. We’ll see if he can take advantage of this opportunity in front of him this spring.
While I don’t think he will perform consistently enough to be a regular come Opening Day, with a big spring I could see Broxton playing himself above the soft hitting and injury prone Lagares on the depth chart, and into the outfield rotation against left-handed pitching.