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Keon Broxton - 2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper


2018 was a bit of a roller coaster for Keon Broxton with multiple trips between Milwaukee and Colorado Springs, about as much of a culture shift as one can find in the country. One city has good beer, the other is Colorado Springs. Whatever the context, the one thing that baseball fans know about the two cities is that they are both great offensive situations. The concern was that Broxton only produced in the one without beer.

A fantasy darling for a few seasons, Broxton owners are still waiting for that breakout campaign. A move to New York might be the key to playing time, and the right opportunity to flaunt his stuff in the Bigs. No longer is he blocked by MVP candidates in Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, but instead takes a spot on a team in need of a true anchor in the outfield. The downside for Broxton is that he will need to earn a spot this Spring. Looking to his numbers, this is a good risk for owners to take.

Fantasy owners need to stay alert regarding the New York outfield plans, but unless Broxton craters this Spring, expect him to produce value north of his 511 ADP. Read along to take the deep dive and see why Broxton should still be a fantasy darling.

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The Struggles Are Real

To begin, Broxton passes the eye test, and the skills are undeniable. The baseline expectation with the tools alone is a 20/20 season, but owners are still waiting on that, and have been burned in past seasons. A major reason? Broxton will never post an elite, perhaps even league-average batting average. The exciting piece is that he does make a good amount of contact, with a 58% contact rate in the second half. Admittingly, this was a small sample, and the .179 batting average shows that contact does not mean offensive production on its own.

When speed is one of the foremost fantasy skills in Broxton’s game, the ability to get on base is paramount. For owners in OBP leagues, the rate stats play up enough that teams can settle for the close to .300 mark, as long as the rest of the package is there.

One external factor limiting Broxton’s 2018 might have been the shuttle from Triple-A to the Brewers. Over the split campaign, Broxton was able to appear in a total of 133 games, with 423 total PAs. Regular starts show durability and a good enough bat with upside that he was getting playing time with Colorado Springs even with past struggles. Also, no matter the stop Broxton flashed the speed, with 27 steals in the minors, and five with the Brew Crew. Add to that a total of 14 homers and the raw fantasy production is there to be had.

 

Why Target Keon Broxton?

The reasons to buy-in are twofold, the defensive play and the batted ball profile. On defense, Broxton has the speed and glove to play every day in center, keeping him in the line-up even with offensive struggles. Fantasy owners have gotten value from similar batting profile without the power upside, and Broxton should fit right into that category on the low end of his upside. Concerning his power upside, Broxton saw a 2018 decline in part due to a change at the plate. This could be a changed approach or just a factor of not playing every day, so there could be changes here with a new team and playing time.

Whatever the reason, his launch angle dropped from 9.4 in 2017 to 2.7 last season. Besides, the exit velocity fell from 86.3 to 84 MPH. While he did see a four-point jump in his walk rate, the downside was less power across the board. Going back to his 2017 approach seems to be the best ask for fantasy owners, and a new team should give that a fresh look. 

Owners should not let the recency bias of fantasy baseball keep Broxton from the draft board, as a reverting to 2017’s production could unlock the skills that made him so unique talent entering last year. Take the playing time upside due to the glove, with the speed and power threat, and ride this non-drafted ADP to starting outfielder production in steals and power.

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