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2016 MVBrewer #10: Keon Broxton

A Tale of Two Seasons.

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
...or Broxton
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Keon Broxton is our tenth most valuable Brewer, nipping traded reliever Jeremy Jeffress with 42% of the vote to 30% for JJ.

Keon Broxton’s season started with hard times. Keon ended April at 0 for 16 with 2 walks and 11 strikeouts. May was slightly better; slashing .158/.271/.211 with 9 more strikeouts. June saw him improve to .192/.323/.308 with his first major league homer, off of Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer.

Miller Park was a bleak house for Broxton. He shuttled back and forth between Milwaukee and Colorado Springs for the first few months of the year, alternatively struggling in the big leagues and raking in AAA.

Known as a good defender, he had several misplays in center for the Brewers. They seemed generally to be attributable to over-aggressiveness. He had some poor defensive moments at AAA, too, leading PCL rival Oklahoma City to run a dumb promotion highlighting his outfield misplays.

For the first half of the season, Broxton ended at an OPS of .441. You don’t have to be a stat nerd to know that an OPS of .441 is very, very bad. It is pitcher bad. In fact, Junior Guerra finished the first half with an higher OPS than Keon. (So did Chris Capuano, but that was a rather small sample size.) He did steal 7 bases in 8 attempts.

Then, on July 26th, the final twist came in Broxton’s journey between AAA and Milwaukee. He was recalled for the fourth and final time, and built his season stats back to respectability with a great second half.

Keon more than doubled his first half OPS, coming in at a team-leading .937. His OBP was .399; he slugged .538. He homered once every 18 at bats, and stole 16 bases in 19 attempts. His defense picked up; his Sept. 8th catch robbed Anthony Rizzo of a game tying homer in the ninth inning of a Brewers 2-1 win over the Cubs.

Keon’s season ended on Sept. 16th when he broke his right wrist running into Wrigley field’s antiquated center field wall while catching Tommy LaStella’s deep drive.

Broxton still struck out too much; 32.5% of his plate appearances. His BABIP of .425 is certainly unsustainable. The Brewers still have great expectations for Broxton for next year, and he will likely begin the year as the favorite to win the center field job during spring training. Because of his many trips back down to the minors this year, Keon still has yet to accrue a full year of MLB service time and therefore has six years of club control remaining, including three at around the league minimum salary. That means it is very possible that Broxton could emerge as a major part of Milwaukee’s rebuild.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs