Exit Interview 2017: Jonathan Broxton

For the sixth straight year, we’re taking a look back at everyone that played for the St. Louis Cardinals this season.  Whether they were a major contributor or a bit player, here all year or for just a little while, we’ll look at their season and talk about what went right and what went wrong.  The stat line listed is just their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers in the discussion may be for the entire year.  Imagine this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a little review on their way home for the winter.  As always when you see incredible artistry in the blogs, all credit for the header work goes to @cardinalsgifs.

Player: Jonathan Broxton

Season stats: 0-1, 6.89 ERA, 20 games, 15.2 IP, 23 H, 11 BB, 16 K, 2.170 WHIP, 4.88 FIP, -0.3 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Goat 1

Overall grade: D

Positives: Had a lower FIP than ERA, indicating at least a few things went wrong that were beyond his control….was not charged with a run in 14 of his 20 appearances and in only one of those did he allow an inherited runner to score….pitched better in May, though he still had a 5.63 ERA in that month….struck out six of the 12 batters that got to a 1-2 count….had a .190 BAA when there were two outs….batters had just a .659 OPS with runners in scoring position….they also hit .143 with two outs and RISP…..um, he had exactly the same number of games, plate appearances, and at bats at home and on the road, so I guess that’s neat.

Negatives: This could take a while….things are not good when you average over two base runners an inning….allowed two or more runs in five of the six outings where he allowed a score…twice allowed two runs without registering an out….lefties hit .524 with a 1.330 OPS against him….batters hit .419 against him in St. Louis….had a 7.04 ERA on the road….batters hit .391 if they swung at the first pitch (and .359 if they took it)….allowed a 1.443 OPS to batters if they got ahead in the count….the first batter he faced had a 1.125 OPS, meaning it usually started out bad….his line allowed when nobody was out was .522/.520/.652….hitters got him for a .444 average and 1.072 OPS when the bases were empty….only faced 21 batters when the Cardinals were ahead and was torched for a .474/.524/.789 mark in those situations….we really could go on for a long time here, but suffice it to say, it was bad.

Overview: I know some of you that read this series are probably wondering why in the world a terrible season like Broxton’s didn’t get an F mark for a grade.  That’s a fair criticism and I don’t think it’s a wrong grade if you went that way.  I stuck with the D because, in part, there were some highlights to the season for Broxton–like I said, he didn’t allow a run every time, though some of that might have been because someone else cleaned up his mess–and because there were no expectations that Broxton would be very good, though nobody really thought he’d be THIS bad.  The two year extension for Broxton after the 2015 season was puzzling at the time and it never really did pan out, perhaps something to think about as we continue to hear about the Cardinals in the mix for various big money relievers.

Looking over his splits and numbers for 2017 is not for the faint of heart, though.  I have never seen so many ridiculously high numbers except for folks that barely had any time, such as Mike Mayers after his first start.  Broxton faced 78 batters, though.  It’s not a huge amount but it’s bigger than a small sample.  Why they hung on to him until May is still boggling.  Perhaps they thought he’d get back to the mediocre level he was at in 2016, perhaps they were worried about what the young guy who would replace him would do.  Whatever the case, at least they did cut their losses fairly early and didn’t keep him around all year because he was still under contract.  That’s something, at least.

Outlook: Given that nobody wound up signing Broxton to even a minor league deal to see if they could work out some issues with him, it seems pretty safe to say that his career is over.  While the last couple of years weren’t that special, he did help in the stretch run in 2015 and wound up with a 13-year big league career, which is nothing to sneeze at.  Hopefully he can enjoy his retirement and remember the good old days with the Dodgers rather than the last days with the Cardinals.

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