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5/27/1988 (28 y, 8 m, 24 d)
2009 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1s, Pick: 11, Overall: 43, Team: Cincinnati Reds
$1.6M / 1 Years (2017)
Boxberger agreed to a one-year, $1.6 million deal with the Rays on Friday, avoiding arbitration, FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reports. (1/13/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Boxberger was one of the four players acquired for Mat Latos, and his debut season with San Diego was a mixed bag. Though he went back and forth between Triple-A and the bigs multiple times, Boxberger spent most of the second half of the team with the big team and impressed by striking out 33 in 24.2 innings. That continued a minor-league record of positive strikeout numbers (career 12 per nine on the farm), fueled by his fastball/change/curve arsenal, but walking nearly six per nine isn't going to endear you to the coaches. If Boxberger can harness his command somewhat, he's potentially a future closer; either way, he's young, talented, and cost-controlled, so expect to see a lot of him in San Diego in 2013. (
The Quick Opinion:
Brad Boxberger showed an impressive ability to miss bats in major league debut, yet will have to limit the walks if he wants to have a career.
The Reds made Boxberger a first-round selection (43rd overall) in the 2009 amateur draft, then sent him along with a trio of other Reds to the Padres in exchange for Mat Latos. Boxberger’s debut season in the Padres organization went off without a hitch -- the right-hander went 2-2, with five saves, a 2.70 ERA (1.79 FIP) and a 33.9% strikeout rate in 37 trips to the bump (43.1 innings). While repeating Triple-A in 2013, Boxberger achieved similar success with noticeable improvements in both K% (37.7%) and walk rate (8.1%), leading some to consider the righty a potential big-league closing candidate down the road. However, expectations should be tempered as Boxberger experienced control issues in each of his first two (short) stints in the bigs. Now in Tampa Bay, Boxberger still has the potential multi-category contributor, but his path to saves may have more roadblocks. Grant Balfour and Heath Bell have to be in line ahead of him, even if lefty Jake McGee may never get his shot. (Alan Harrison)
The Quick Opinion:
Despite only throwing 91-92 these days, Boxberger's strong three-pitch mix garners plenty of whiffs. He's always been touted as a future closer, maybe he'll have his chance in the Tampa bullpen one of these years. Probably not this one.
When the Rays traded for Brad Boxberger in January, they knew what they had. A hard-throwing pitcher with great strikeout numbers in the minor leagues and only the foggiest notion of the strike zone. It was a flyer and not an uncommon one -- except this one worked out. Boxberger discovered the strike zone in a real way, posting huge strikeout numbers but managing to avoid both walks and home runs. His fastball/changeup combination rendered lefties hopeless against him and his new-found ability to fill the strike zone kept righties at bay as well. With Jake McGee set to miss the start of the season, Boxberger might be the guy to fill in at closer, picking up saves and pitching in huge spots. There is no telling how new Rays manager Kevin Cash might run his bullpen, but Boxberger is a name he's sure to rely on. Even if his strikeout rate regresses, there are enough tangible changes in Boxberger's approach to the game (no longer pitching out of the windup and a different release point) to suggest 2015 holds the promise of more strikeouts and potentially more saves for the Rays latest relief ace. (Drew Fairservice)
The Quick Opinion:
Brad Boxberger got it all right in 2014. Are the adjustments that produced nearly 15 strikeouts per nine innings here to stay?
Boxberger had a dominant 2014 season, but in his role as a closer in 2015, Boxberger looked much less heroic -- despite collecting 41 saves. His strikeout rate dropped nearly 15 points and his walk rate crept upward more than three points. It is hard to nail down a certain cause for the drop in production -- his velocity was similar to years past; his repertoire was still mostly fastball and changeup; and his swinging strike rate was pretty similar to the previous year. The only really appreciable differences appear to be his zone rate (45% compared to 50% in 2014), and -- quite possibly related to that issue -- his inconsistent vertical release point (a 0.26 standard deviation compared to 0.16 in 2014). If he can recover his delivery consistency and throw his still-quite-good pitches for strikes, Boxberger could bounce back in a big way. But if it turns out that 2015 was a lucky blip, then he could find himself in a middle relief role by midseason. (
The Quick Opinion:
There's a lot of reason to hope Boxberger can get back on track in 2016, and play like the dominant reliever he was in 2014. His pitches are still as nasty as ever, but he needs to throw more strikes and return to a more consistent delivery. The stuff is there, but unless he can find the zone, he won't last long as the Rays closer.
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Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017 11:40 AM ET
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