Keon Broxton had a tremendous second half for the Brewers in 2016. Should fantasy owners now look at him as a fantasy sleeper in 2017?
With spring training now in full swing, it is that time of year where fantasy owners begin to note certain players as sleeper candidates. The Milwaukee Brewers may be rebuilding, but they have plenty of intriguing fantasy players. One player that should be of definite interest is Keon Broxton. After a great second half for Broxton, is he a fantasy sleeper in 2017?
Broxton has all the raw tools needed to be a stud MLB outfielder. But, for a majority of his career, he could never put it all together consistently. Tools are what scouts and fantasy owners crave for, but they are useless without production. The Pirates dished him to the Brewers prior to the 2015 season and he even made the team to start the 2016 regular season.
Things did not go too well as Broxton got out to a dreadful start. He did not register a hit in 18 games in April. He just could not find a rhythm the first half of the season posting a paltry .125/1 HR/2 RBI/7 SB/.441 OPS line. He looked overmatched at the plate and the Brewers were forced to demote him.
But, in the minors, Broxton made a mechanical change that saw him lower his hands and that ushered in success. While in AAA last season, he posted a .287/8 HR/26 RBI/18 SB/.924 OPS line. He once again showed the promise that scouts have raved over and the Brewers would soon see this new and improved version.
Over the second half of the season, Broxton looked like a new man. Before breaking his wrist in mid-September, he amassed a .294/8 HR/17 RBI/16 SB/.937 OPS line over 143 at-bats.
His swing was clearly more refined and he was able to offer everyone a glimpse at what he could become. That late-season success was not lost on the Brewers either as they are even hoping that they can even slide him near the top of the order if he can avoid another slow start.
Looking at his peripherals, he did have some encouraging ratios. His 25% LD, 45% GB, 13% Soft, 43% Med and 43% Hard contact rates, are all solid. His 36% K rate is abysmal, and what will likely drive his AVG down near the .260 mark, but he does square the ball up well when he makes contact. He had nine doubles over the second half as well, so if he can continue his gap splitting stroke, good things will come.
Fantasy owners are going to want Broxton specifically for his speed. He has a 39 SB season under his belt in the minors and stole a total of 168 bases over his minor league career. He does swing and miss a lot, but even after last season’s struggles, he posted 18 SB. So heading into 2017, 25+ SB should be his floor, with 30+ SB being his upside.
The Brewers may quietly have a productive lineup and if Broxton can slide into the two hole behind Jonathan Villar, he has a great chance at building great counting stats with Ryan Braun and Eric Thames behind him. Miller Park remains a great hitters ballpark and Broxton has a career high 19 HR minor league campaign. He may not be the 20 HR/20 SB threat already in 2017, but the potential is definitely there with his refined swing.
Broxton will be widely overlooked in drafts this spring as most fantasy owners will dismiss his 2016 seasonal line. But, do not be that owner. There were definitive and tangible improvements in his game to end the season. Broxton is basically a free lottery ticket waiting to be taken at the end of drafts, make the move and snag him before it is too late.