Jonathan Broxton threw well after being acquired in the second half of the 2015 season, as he garnered a 2.66 ERA while wearing a Cardinals uniform. However, he wasn't able to maintain that level of performance in 2016. Yet again, the long ball got the best of Broxton, who allowed more than one home run per nine innings (1.04 HR/9) for the second year in a row. His control continues to decline, with his walk rate increasing for the third consecutive season. Despite his subpar play, Broxton finished third on the Cardinals in appearances. Heading into the final year of his contract, Broxton will likely be a regular coming out of the St. Louis bullpen, but may see fewer high-leverage opportunities.
Broxton was credited with his first hold in Tuesday's 9-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Marlins, pitching a clean fourth inning and recording a strikeout. The veteran reliever kept his spring record unblemished in terms of ERA, as he's yet to surrender a run over the four innings spanning his four appearances. Broxton has also notched a trio of whiffs over that span and allowed just a .154 average. The 32-year-old right-hander is expected to enjoy a robust bullpen role once again in 2017 after pitching over 60 innings in each of the last two campaigns.
Broxton, who's slated to once again be a prominent part of the Cardinals bullpen in 2017, will look to significantly improve his performance at Busch Stadium, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. The 32-year-old righty's home/road splits last season were rather alarming, as Broxton amassed a 6.83 ERA, 3.72 BB/9, 1.48 WHIP and .338 wOBA over 29.0 innings at Busch Stadium. In contrast, he generated a 1.99 ERA and .181 BAA across 31.2 road frames, which kept him as a reasonably effective option overall, but one that the Cardinals hope can provide much steadier results across the board in the coming campaign. Broxton was durable last season despite the aforementioned home struggles, firing over 60 innings for the second straight year in the middle relief role he'll reprise in 2017.
Broxton has allowed five earned runs with eight strikeouts and two walks over 10 innings during July. It has been a rollercoaster ride for Broxton this season with a combined 1.27 ERA in April and June, but a 7.03 ERA over May and July. Despite inconsistencies, manager Mike Matheny still likes to go to him in close games, giving Broxton six hold chances in July, with four conversions.
Broxton could see save chances with Trevor Rosenthal removed from the closer role, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Seugn Hwan Oh and Kevin Siegrist were also mentioned by manager Mike Matheny as candidates to see save opportunities. Broxton seems like a distant third in the competition, as he has a walk rate over 12 percent and a FIP over 4.00 this season, but the 32-year-old does have experience closing games.
Broxton (1-0) pitched two innings of one-hit baseball in Friday's 9-3 extra-inning victory over the Pirates. He struck out a batter. The veteran righty got the job done over his two frames, and secured his first win of the season after the Cardinals' six-run explosion in the top half of the 12th inning. The 31-year-old now has six consecutive scoreless outings, and has pitched well overall this season outside of two forgettable outings. Broxton has recorded five holds, while also sporting a 23:14 K:BB ratio.