Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Royals Add Broxton, Fail to Improve

This past summer, the inside scoop from of LA was that Jonathan Broxton was a country bumpkin. He hated it in LA and would embrace free agency as a chance to relocate to more comfortable surroundings.

You know you're a redneck when...
Earlier this week, Jonathan Broxton signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals.

Dayton Moore, the Senior Vice President-Baseball Operations/General Manager of  the Royals, sees a featuring overpriced starting pitching and non-impact back of the rotation starters available, so it sounds wise to reallocate assets to build a Super Bullpen. The issue we're having with this, however, is why Broxton? In an offseason with many experienced bullpen arms, why invest in an apparent sinking ship?

The numbers on Broxton aren't pretty, per Fangraphs.

Broxton was an elite reliever in 2006, '07, '08, and '09, then injuries and mileage took a noticeable toll on his arm.

His strikeouts are down and his walks are up, never a good sign:

Strikeouts per 9 innings
2009: 13.50
2010: 10.54
2011: 7.11

Walks per 9 innings
2009: 3.43
2010: 4.04
2011: 6.39

Jonathan Broxton is a fastball/slider pitcher, throwing one of them over 97% of the time throughout his career. Unfortunately, both pitches have been failing him more and more.

Fastball Velocity
2009: 97.8 mph
2010: 95.3 mph
2011: 94.1 mph

Fastball Value/100 (wFB/C)
2009: 1.42
2010: 0.07
2011: -0.87

Slider Value/100 (wSL/C)
2009: 3.65
2010: -0.24
2011: -0.58

Last season was really terrible for Jonathan Broxton. Not only did he sport a 1.11 K/BB ratio and 1.89 WHIP, he gave up a Homerun on almost 1 out of every 5 flyballs given up (18.2% HR/FB).

The history of heavy-set relief pitchers rediscovering elite form after a couple of injury-plagued years is unclear to me. Could Broxton come back and pitch at All Star levels again? Sure, he's still throwing at least 94 mph, and looking at his pitch fx, his pitches haven't flattened out that much.

I just don't think I would have invested $4 million dollars on him. Granted, these aren't the days of yesteryear, but since when does gambling $4,000,000 on someone pitching about 65 innings constitute as low-risk/high reward?

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