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Jonathan Broxton

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Jonathan Roy Broxton

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[edit] Biographical Information

Jonathan Broxton, who broke in with the 2005 Los Angeles Dodgers, assumed a major role with them in 2006 at the age of 22. He appeared in 68 games, finishing 20 of them. His record was 4-1 with 3 saves, and his 2.59 ERA was far lower than the league average ERA of 4.49.

As a senior in high school, he struck out 134 batters in 74 innings. A second-round draft pick in 2002, he was signed by scout Lon Joyce. Broxton moved up the minor league ladder very steadily, and always had an ERA of 3.23 or lower. In 2006, he appeared 11 times in Triple A without giving up a run.

In 2007 he appeared in 83 games with a 2.85 ERA. In 2008, he stepped in as the Dodgers' closer following an injury to Takashi Saito, saving 14 games in 70 outings with a 3.13 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 69 innings. He also picked up a save in the NLDS when the Dodgers swept the Chicago Cubs in three games. He played for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, then returned as the Dodgers closer in 2009. His flawless performance over the season's first half earned him an invitation to the 2009 All-Star Game. He ended the season with a personal-best 36 saves, in addition to a 7-2 record and a 2.61 ERA. He struck out 114 batters in only 76 innings. He then saved a game in each of the first two rounds of the postseason, as the Dodgers once again reached the NLCS but lost to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Broxton started off the 2010 season pitching lights out and was again named to the All-Star team. His record at the break was 3-0, 2.11 with 19 saves, but he struggled mightily over the second half, picking up only 3 more saves in 25 games as his ERA was 7.13. Hong-Chih Kuo got most of the save opportunities when Broxton's struggles became so evident that manager Joe Torre no longer trusted him with a lead.

The Dodgers and new manager Don Mattingly were concerned about Broxton's health heading in the 2011 season, including his weight which had by then ballooned over 300 pounds, but reinstated him as closer to start the year. Although he did not always keep a clean sheet, Broxton still managed to convert 7 of his first 8 save opportunities, but he posted a 5.68 ERA and gave up 15 hits and 9 walks in 12.2 innings while doing so. On May 3 however, he walked two consecutive Cubs batters on 8 pitches and took himself out of the game. The Dodgers decided to shut him down and have him undergo an MRI on his right elbow, concerned about the significant loss of velocity on his fastball, from 96 mph in his heyday, to barely 90. The MRI showed a bone spur and a bruise, but no structural damage or need for surgery. Still, he was placed on the disabled list. He only made a couple more appearances during the year, both with the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes. After the season, he signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals, with the understanding that he would no longer be a closer, but a set-up man for Joakim Soria.

Plans changed quickly for Broxton in 2012, however, as Soria had to undergo arm surgery in spring training, leaving Broxton as the inheritor fo the closer's job. He made a remarkable comeback from his previous years' struggles, saving 23 games in 35 outings, with a 2.27 ERA. He was impressive enough to interest the Cincinnati Reds, who made his acquisition at the trading deadline on July 31st. With Aroldis Chapman on board as the closer, he was to find another role in an already-strong bullpen that also numbered Sean Marshall and Logan Ondrusek as very effective set-up men.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time NL All-Star (2009 & 2010)
  • 30 Saves Seasons: 1 (2009)

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