By Nick Sulpizio
Eric Gagne. Takashi Saito. Those are two revered predecessors, but now the Log Angeles Dodgers can add Jonathan Broxton to their list of successful closers. In this day and age of baseball, a team can't succeed without one, and Broxton is now more than ready to end games on a high note.
Jonathan Roy Broxton was born on June 16, 1984 in Augusta, Georgia. He is married to his wife Elizabeth. They had their first son, Jonathan Brooks, last year.
Broxton grew up in Waynesboro, Georgia and attended Burke County High School. During his senior year he recorded a 9-2 record with a 1.21 ERA. He was later selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft.
His minor league career lasted from 2002-06 in which he recorded a 3.03 ERA, 12 saves, 332 strikeouts, and a 23-11 record, all in a hefty 303 innings. During this time he played for Dodger minor league teams such as the Great Falls of the Pioneer League, the South Georgia Waves of the South Atlantic League, the Vero Beach Dodgers of the Florida State League, and the Double-A Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League.
Broxton's major league debut took place July 29, 2005 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Although he only pitched one inning, he did something only a select few pitchers can claim when citing their debut: he struck out Albert Pujols. Think the Dodgers were impressed?
In 2006 Broxton was again called up from the minors - only this time he would never return. He appeared in a career-high 83 games for the Dodgers in 2007, third most for pitchers in the National League and fourth in franchise history. Throwing 99 strikeouts, his intimidating presence struck a nerve with hitters.
Over his five-year career Jonathan Broxton has established himself as one of the most powerful closers in the game, routinely throwing in the range of 98-103 mph. Adding to his resume, he recently played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and was selected to the 2009 National All-Star Game. He continues to be a stud closer and should have a great 2010 season.