I’ve mentioned this before and might again if I do a Domingo Santana sleeper post, which I’m toying with and don’t end a sentence with with — dah! The Brewers might be the first team in history that would have a lesser than 40% chance of scoring one run with the bases loaded and no outs due to their crazy strikeouts. Everyone on the team Ks at an obscene rate. It’s like their hitting coach is Rob Deer. “Guys, you have to wait for your pitch.” *ball bounces in dirt, three feet in front of Keon Broxton* “Why didn’t you swing at that? I said wait for the pitch, as in swing at every pitch when it gets to the plate — ball or strike!” That’s Rob Deer, hitting coach. If nothing else, it’s worth noting the team’s strikeouts for pitching streamers going against them when we get there. The 2016 Brewers had the worst strikeout rate since 1902 with 25.5%. The top 30 are all in the last ten years, so there’s definitely been a change in the game, but there ya go. Keon Broxton might be the worst offender of swinging and missing on a team that is historically terrible (yes, at some point this is going to turn positive for Keon). Losing Chris Carter’s 32% K-rate will help, but Keon Broxton’s K-rate was 36.1%. “Terrific! I love that aggressive approach!” That’s Rob Deer again. Broxton’s percentage of contact with balls outside the strike zone is 39.4%. That’s historically bad. Last year, the worst mark for qualified hitters was, once again, Chris Carter at 42.2%. Of course, logic tells us if you’re not swinging at many pitches outside the strike zone, then it doesn’t matter. Here, Broxton actually excels. He swings at pitches outside the zone only 22.1% of the time, about the same as Matt Carpenter, Trout and Goldy. There’s hope! Finally! “I’d like to see him swing more at pitcher pitches.” Shut up, Rob Deer! Then there’s the fact that he only makes contact with pitches inside the strike zone at a 76% rate, which would be the 2nd worst in the majors, tied with, you guessed it, Chris Carter. Sigh. So, what can we expect from Keon Broxton for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Chris Carter with 30 steals? Yeah, maybe. That’s interesting, right? What are you hemming and hawing for? Yes, it’s interesting! If Broxton qualified, he would’ve had the third best hard contact rate in the majors last year. Better than Trout, Miggy, Bautista, better than even his brother from a different mother who also has a different last name, Chris Carter! Not just a great Hard Contact rate for last year (43.3%) but, over the last 15 years, it would’ve been a top 25 mark. You don’t find many schmohawks on this list. Lots of Papi, some Bonds and a ton of Mannys. Hit the ball hard and it goes far. Not to excite Sir Mix-A-Lot if he’s reading, but here comes the but. Broxton hits a lot on the ground. Not enough to kill his value, but if Chris Carter is a 40-homer hitter, Keon is a 20-homer hitter. Like if Tom Cruise forgot his shoes, Broxton just doesn’t get enough lift. His ground balls are on par with Wil Myers, who just hit 28 homers, but Broxton’s fly ball rate is closer to Starlin Castro, who hit 21 HRs last year, but with a much lesser Hard Contact rate. Potatoes to chips, Broxton is a 20-homer hitter that could go as high as 25+ and low as 15. Now, for the speed, he has 35-steal ability. Of course, he needs to get on base to get there, which, besides the Ks, may happen due to his ability to lay off bad pitches. Broxton needs to walk a tightrope, but he could be the breakout of the season and I’m going to draft him everywhere. For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 64/18/71/.237/31 in 490 ABs.