Milwaukee Brewers: Can Keon Broxton stick in Milwaukee?
By David Gasper
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton has made several outstanding defensive plays since being recalled and has swung it pretty well. Could he stick in the majors even when Lorenzo Cain returns?
Keon Broxton was the Milwaukee Brewers starting centerfielder for much of 2017. However, the acquisitions of Cain and Christian Yelich pushed Broxton out of the starting lineup and the major leagues. Now that he’s getting his first opportunity back in the big leagues this year, he’s proving that he belongs as a big league player.
Broxton robbed Brian Dozier of a home run in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game against the Twins. He also robbed a home run on Monday’s game. He’s continuing to make spectacular defensive plays and has regained the love of Brewers fans.
Defense was never the question with Broxton, but this past week has reminded us just how good a player he is in the outfield.
In just one week, Broxton already has a 0.9 WAR according to Baseball Reference. Most of that can be attributed to his amazing game against the Reds on June 29th. But he’s saved two very big potential home runs in this Twins series as well.
Can he stick in Milwaukee?
The problem with Broxton has been his bat. He’s prone to extreme hot and cold streaks. He looked to be on a hot streak when he hit those two home runs against the Reds, but is 5-for-25 at the plate since being called up, giving him just a .200 batting average.
Broxton had another 0-for-3 day on Wednesday and it appears his struggles at the plate are not fully fixed.
Lorenzo Cain is due back on Friday and when he does return, it appears likely that Broxton will be demoted. As great of a defender as he is and as many highlight reel catches he makes, there’s no way he can crack this starting outfield group when they’re all healthy.
He could make a decent fourth outfielder, but with big money being paid to Cain, Yelich, and Ryan Braun, Broxton is going to have a tough time finding any playing time. Cain and Yelich are no slouches defensively, and they’re consistent on offense to boot.
As great as he’s been playing this past week, Broxton is going to head back to Triple-A once Cain returns from the DL.
What does Broxton’s future hold?
Maybe he’s done enough to convince another team to take a flyer on him during the July trading season. He’s a great defender, obviously. His bat has plenty of potential, but still needs work. Broxton has no future in this Brewers outfield unless he magically finds the consistency he needs.
The logjam has impacted several other big league quality outfielders like Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips, who are also stuck in Triple-A.
One or more of them could get moved this July in a deal for a pitcher or another position player. It would be tough to see any of them go, but they won’t get a chance for much playing time with the Milwaukee Brewers right now.
It seems unlikely Broxton will stick in Milwaukee. Despite the highlight reel catches, his bat still doesn’t appear to have improved enough to warrant keeping him up here when Cain returns. A small sample size, to be sure, but that’s all he’s going to be able to get.
Next: Top 5 Third Basemen in Brewers history
The Milwaukee Brewers have been able to play well and win, even in Cain’s absence. A part of that is due to the play of Broxton, but it won’t be enough to keep him here.