Brad Boxberger
Brad Boxberger
30-Year-Old PitcherRP
Kansas City Royals
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Boxberger ran with the Diamondbacks' closer job for a long while after joining Arizona via trade from Tampa Bay. The righty made the road tough on himself, posting his highest BB/9 in a season with 50-plus innings (5.4) and his worst HR/9 overall (1.52). He also turned in his worst hard-hit rate (38.2%) and average exit velocity (89 mph), per Statcast. Left-handed batters owned him (.349 wOBA), and his fastball velocity dipped nearly one mph from 2017. It wasn't until after his seventh blown save of the season Sept. 9 that the Diamondbacks had finally seen enough. Yoshihisa Hirano wasn't great after stepping in, but the team was never going to make a lateral move back to Boxberger and they simply declined to tender him a contract. Boxberger landed in Kansas City, which is the spot in which he could get another chance to close, but manager Ned Yost has suggested he might mix and match rather than go with one set endgamer. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $2.2 million contract with the Royals in February of 2019. Contract includes an additional $1 million in incentives.
Continues to struggle
PKansas City Royals
April 11, 2019
Boxberger blew a save after surrendering two runs on three hits while striking out one during the ninth inning Thursday against Seattle.
Boxberger had put together a pair of scoreless appearances heading into Thursday's series finale, but he managed to squander a two-run lead and the Royals would ultimately give up the winning run in the top of the 10th inning. The 30-year-old continues to have a rough go of it in 2019, accruing a 9.95 ERA with 10 strikeouts over 6.1 frames. Kansas City has struggled to find a reliever who can close out games to this point, with Boxberger and Ian Kennedy blowing save opportunities this week.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .224 181 49 24 35 4 2 8
Since 2017vs Right .242 222 72 26 46 9 1 8
2019vs Left .263 23 6 4 5 1 0 1
2019vs Right .429 24 4 3 9 2 1 2
2018vs Left .222 97 26 16 18 2 1 6
2018vs Right .220 138 45 16 26 5 0 3
2017vs Left .214 61 17 4 12 1 1 1
2017vs Right .216 60 23 7 11 2 0 3
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
Even Split
Since 2017Home 4.96 1.47 49.0 5 9 16 10.3 4.4 1.7
Since 2017Away 4.19 1.37 43.0 2 5 17 13.6 5.4 1.5
2019Home 11.81 2.25 5.1 0 2 1 8.4 3.4 3.4
2019Away 6.75 2.25 4.0 0 1 0 11.3 11.3 2.3
2018Home 4.55 1.55 27.2 3 5 15 10.1 5.2 1.3
2018Away 4.21 1.29 25.2 0 2 17 14.0 5.6 1.8
2017Home 3.38 1.06 16.0 2 2 0 11.3 3.4 1.7
2017Away 3.38 1.28 13.1 2 2 0 13.5 3.4 0.7
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Stat Review
How does Brad Boxberger compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
90.1 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Boxberger led the American League with 41 saves for the Rays in 2015, but he missed 115 days due to groin surgery and later an oblique injury in 2016. A strained lat muscle then cost him about three months to start 2017. He returned to post his best ERA (3.38) since 2014. It came with rebounds in strikeouts, with his 12.3 K/9 up from 8.1 in 2016, and walks, to a 3.4 per nine, respectable for a K-happy reliever. The right-hander posted his best percentage of pitches in the strike zone (51.2 percent) since 2014, which shows he gained confidence working around the plate. Home runs still bug him -- he's allowed at least 1.11 per nine in the last five years -- and Chase Field may make matters worse in that regard. However, his arrival with the Diamondbacks rejuvenates hope for a return to closing duties. Archie Bradley and Jimmie Sherfy represent significant his biggest road blocks to the ninth inning.
Boxberger's season got off on the wrong foot with a spring training abdominal injury. His absence at the beginning of the season allowed Alex Colome to take over and subsequently thrive in the closer's role, leaving Boxberger to help with setup duty upon his return in late May. An oblique injury then sent him back to the DL after just one appearance, but the right-hander was finally able to settle in for an uninterrupted stretch of action from July 31 onward. He finished with four victories and seven holds, but also three blown saves. Boxberger saw notable regression in his strikeout and walk rates, with his 8.1 K/9 and 7.0 BB/9 representing career-worst marks by a significant margin. Colome's emergence, coupled with Boxberger's uneven performance, could render the latter an afterthought in 2017 drafts.
People wanted Boxberger to get the closer role in 2014, and he got it in 2015 when Jake McGee needed offseason surgery and Kevin Cash let Boxy keep the job. Cash used him quite a bit in save situations and close games to the point where Boxberger whined a bit to the media about his non-traditional usage being a reason why his performance suffered in 2015. Boxberger’s strikeout rate fell from an absurd 14.5 K/9 to a solid 10.6, but his walk rate spiked and he continued to allow the long ball. Boxberger never lost the job, mainly because the team was never seriously in contention in the second half of the season. With McGee now gone following an offseason trade, it looks like Boxberger will have the closer job pretty much all to himself once again. But it would be good if the Rays found some way to reduce Boxberger's workload, because his command then improves so he stops hanging pitches.
The Rays liked Boxberger when they got him from San Diego, but nobody saw him breaking out in the manner he did in 2014. He held opposing batters to a .155 average and struck out 104 of the 247 batters he faced (42.1%). Over the second half of the season, he struck out 51 of the 108 batters he faced and held the opposition to a .144 average. The only flaw in Boxberger’s game is that he can give up the occasional home run, and did so nine times in 2014, four of which came off his secondary pitches. More often than not, he’s going to get the swing and miss the team needs and he will resume his high leverage work in 2015 to help get the ball to whoever closes for the team in 2015. Boxberger has the skills to fill that role himself, and he may get that chance to begin the year thanks to Jake McGee's expected absence on Opening Day following elbow surgery.
Boxberger shuttled between Triple-A Tucson and San Diego multiple times last season, ultimately making 18 appearances with the big club. His 24:13 K:BB ratio wasn't particularly distinguished, but with a 9.8 K/9, he displayed a consistent ability to punch out batters, in spite of 1.2 HR/9. If the right-hander can hone in his control, as he did in 42 games with Tucson (89:19 K:BB ratio in 57.1 innings), he could factor into the late innings for the Rays after being acquired as part of a seven-player trade with the Padres in January.
Boxberger spent the first half of the 2012 season at Triple-A Tucson, before making his MLB debut in mid-June. What came afterwards was a 2.60 ERA that was the largely the work of smoke and mirrors. Yes, he struck out nearly 28 percent of the batters he faced, but he also walked 15 percent of them as well. Pitching like this can be a recipe for disaster as his 4.52 xFIP shows. If he can refine his control, Boxberger will likely find success in 2013, but that would go against history for him as he routinely walked more than 10 percent of the batters he faced through out the minors. If he can harness his control, Boxberger could eventually become an option for high-leverage situations as part of the bridge to closer Huston Street.
Taken in the supplemental first round of the 2009 draft, Boxberger has since converted to the bullpen and could be on the verge of making the team out of spring training. Since moving to the bullpen, Boxberger has junked his curveball and added some velocity as a max-effort short reliever. The results are promising so far - he struck out 93 batters in 62 minor league innings in 2011 before holding his own in the Arizona Fall League. Boxberger needs to tighten his control, and while Huston Street is going to open the year as the Padres closer, the job could belong to the former Reds farmhand in 2013; or sooner if Street is traded this season.
More Fantasy News
Takes loss in 10th
PKansas City Royals
April 2, 2019
Boxberger (0-1) gave up a run on two hits and a walk while striking out one in the 10th inning of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Twins.
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Earns first save
PKansas City Royals
March 28, 2019
Boxberger recorded a one-out save in a 5-3 victory against the White Sox on Opening Day.
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Returns from leg injury
PKansas City Royals
March 11, 2019
Boxberger retired one of the four hitters he faced in his relief appearance Monday in the Royals' 6-2 loss to the Rangers. He gave up two hits and one walk and struck out a batter.
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Rough start to spring
PKansas City Royals
February 26, 2019
Boxberger allowed three runs on two hits and a walk over two-thirds of an inning during Tuesday's loss to the White Sox.
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Role remains undetermined
PKansas City Royals
February 13, 2019
Manager Ned Yost would not name Boxberger as the team's closer heading into camp, Jeffrey Flanagan of reports. "The roles will define themselves over time," Yost said.
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