In the last month, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have turned the Twins’ off-season from a paltry F to a resounding A (in my opinion, anyway). With a flurry of impact signings such as J.A. Happ, Andrelton Simmons, Alex Colome, and Nelson Cruz, the Twins have taken back the reins in the AL Central after the early-off-season shopping spree that the White Sox went on.
One addition that flew largely under-the-radar this off-season: Keon Broxton. Broxton has bounced around the league a bit since his start with the Brewers, and went un-rostered for the entirety of 2020. However, I believe that not only will we see the minor league signee this season, but he just might make a positive impact.
I’m not trying to say that Broxton will wow any of us with his hitting prowess. He was only slightly below average in his first few seasons, but fell off to horrid levels in his last couple of seasons. He has been striking out a lot and he doesn’t have a lot of power. So why am I calling this a “sneaky-good” signing?
We all know about Byron Buxton’s struggles with staying healthy. When healthy, he’s the best defensive centerfielder in the world, and in the past few seasons, he’s shown he’s got one of the best bats at the position as well. However, the Twins have struggled mightily to man centerfield in his absence. Max Kepler can play an above-average centerfield, but has spoken in the past about the toll it takes on him to play the position for an extended period of time. Jake Cave plays a good left field, but struggles in center. Enter Broxton.
Consistently ranking as one of the fastest players in baseball, the former Brewer is an excellent defender who should be able to do a decent Buxton impression if he is pressed into action in 2021. This backup option would have a waterfall effect on the defense, as being able to keep Kepler in right field (where he’s one of the best in baseball) while still having an excellent centerfielder would keep the outfield strong if Buxton does miss a long stretch of time. While having Broxton hitting for a long period of time doesn’t sound so appetizing, his speed could really play at the bottom of the order if he can just become a little bit more disciplined as a hitter.
Rightfully, Andrelton Simmons got all the press as the key to a Minnesota infield defensive overhaul. Moving Polanco to second and adding one of the greatest shortstop gloves of all time will do that. However, don’t overlook the similar effect that the low-key signing of Keon Broxton could have on the outfield.