Four years ago in Grand Junction, Colorado, the Santa Fe Saints baseball team was battling to become JUCO World Series champions. One standout player, freshman center fielder Keon Broxton, helped the Saints earn the title of NJCAA national runners-up. Batting .520 in the tournament, Broxton had 12 runs, 13 hits, five homers and 12 runs batted in.
After only one year at Santa Fe, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Broxton in the third round, 95th overall, in the 2009 big league draft.
This however was not his first time being drafted. Right out of high school, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted Broxton in the 29th round. Broxton says he is happy with his decision to turn down the Phillies offer to play at Santa Fe.
The transition from college to the minors was not an easy one. When Broxton first signed with the Diamondbacks, he played in the Pioneer League in a 78 game season. In junior college, he played only 42 games. Now he is playing 142 games a season in the minors and Broxton says the hardest adjustment is playing baseball seven days a week.
Just as tough for Broxton has been being so far from his hometown of Lakeland, Florida, 2,700 miles from where he currently resides in Visalia, California. Broxton says it’s a constant struggle being so far away.
Luckily, Broxton can rely on his teammates when he is feeling homesick, saying they are like family to him when he is away. The teammates all come from different backgrounds and he says he enjoys the team’s diversity. In the locker room, the players are learning different languages and helping out those who do not speak English fluently.
Reflecting on last season, Broxton says he learned a lot about himself as a player. He got into a routine of working out on a daily basis and preparing himself for every game. He hopes to build off of last year and work on getting on base more, stealing more bases and playing better defense. Even with some room for improvement, Broxton is confident in his ability to perform.
Broxton says he continues to work on his swing and it is improving every day. So far this season, he is batting .200 with six runs, 12 hits, one homer and six RBIs. Although his swing is a work in progress, and playing the game is always a challenge, Broxton says it is the challenge he loves.
Broxton’s goal for this season is to make the 2012 All-Star Team, and his goal for the future is to make it to the big leagues. He says in order to make it that far he will have to continue working hard and improving his game.