Yesterday, the Milwaukee Brewers announced the acquisition of reliever Jeremy Jeffress and subsequently designated Kirk Nieuwenhuis for assignment. Jeffress won’t arrive in time to be active for tonight’s game however, leaving the Brewers with an open roster spot. The club has filled it by recalling outfielder Keon Broxton:
OF Keon Broxton has been recalled from Triple-A @skysox. (OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis designated for assignment yesterday)— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 1, 2017
Broxton, 27, was Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter in center field this season and has had quite the up-and-down year. On the whole he’s hit .218/.294/.430 (83 wRC+) with 14 home runs and 17 stolen bases. His signature aggressive approach lead to a 38% strikeout rate, however, and his walk rate has greatly diminished versus last year. Keon’s defense hasn’t graded out as highly this season in center field, either, and he was in the midst of a 3-for-50 cold streak when he was demoted to AAA on July 22nd. He would ultimately spend the minimum period of 10 days with the Sky Sox after producing a stellar .385/.500/.577 slash (180 wRC+) with a homer and 4 steals in 34 plate appearances.
Craig Counsell told reporters that the plan is for Broxton to take over regular playing time in center field:
Broxton takes Nieuwenhuis' spot and will get bulk of starts in CF, Counsell said. Would not be surprise to see Brinson sent down tmrw.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) August 1, 2017
That’ll end 23 year old Lewis Brinson’s brief run as the regular center fielder, and as McCalvy suggested, likely means that he’ll be headed back to Colorado Springs when Jeremy Jeffress is ready to report tomorrow. Brinson has looked a bit overmatched during his first trial in the big leagues, appearing in 19 games between two stints and compiling a .111/.245/289 slash across 53 plate appearances while striking out 32% of time time. That translates to just a 35 wRC+, though Brinson has slugged a couple of homers, stolen a base, and made some pretty spectacular plays in the outfield.
Stearns and co. were reportedly unwilling to part with Brinson in a package for Sonny Gray this summer, but apparently don’t believe that he’s ready for regular playing time against big league pitching. At the very least, we can expect him to return to the big leagues when rosters expand in September.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs