If you are a fan of players with a ton of tools, then Keon Broxton is a guy for you. Broxton has shown he can hit for some power, hitting 19 home runs in 2012, but that was in the California League. He can also absolutely fly around the bases, stealing 21 bags twice, and 33 in 2011 across two levels. He has even shown he can be a plus defender in center, but then 2013 happened.
Broxton hit just eight home runs and stole a mere five bags last season. He also was moved to the corner outfield and was removed from the 40-man roster by the Arizona Diamondbacks. His contact rate has always been a question with a career .244 batting average and strike out rate of 32.6%, both of which got worse in 2013 as he hit .231 and struck out 34.7% of the time.
This off-season, while top prospects were playing in the Arizona Fall League or headed to Latin America to play in top winter leagues, Broxton went down to Australia to try and turn his career back around with the Sydney Blue Sox. He proceeded to hit just .231 with two home runs. He wound up tied for fifth in the league on stolen bases, taking 11 bags on 12 attempts, but was overshadowed on his own team by Chicago White Sox prospect Jacob May, who stole 17 bags.
As minor league spring training looks to wrap up today, the Diamondbacks have decided it is time to part ways with the once hyped prospect, sending him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later.
The Pirates have been building an outfield full of guys with center fielder skills, and it is working well for them. While Jose Tabata is a true corner outfielder, they have the reigning MVP in center with Andrew McCutchen and just locked up Starling Marte to a 6-year deal. Their top prospect, Gregory Polanco, profiles as a future All-Star center fielder, but will probably wind up becoming the regular right fielder by the end of the 2014 season. The Pirates top draft pick in 2013 was, you guessed it, another center fielder in Georgia high-school product Austin Meadows. With the Pirates loading up on highly athletic outfielders, Broxton seems like a fantastic fit, he just needs to find a way to make consistent contact.