‘MVP-type’ Josh Broughton back with Ogden Raptors — hopefully not for long
OGDEN — Ogden Raptors outfielder Josh Broughton hit .402 with a .445 on-base percentage and 13 home runs, 22 doubles, eight triples and 80 RBIs in 88 games of the 2021 season.
He scored 96 runs, using elite speed to constantly pressure opposing defenses and stretch plays to one more base, all while having “a Vladimir Guerrero-type of arm,” according to this season’s manager, Kash Beauchamp.
But professional baseball has been an odd place the last couple of years. Scores of talented players were cut from affiliated ball in the summer of 2020 with the cancellation of the minor league baseball season on the horizon (Broughton was one of them). The professional draft was cut in half, and the head honchos of pro baseball eliminated 40-something minor league teams from affiliated graces.
So, by whatever forces are working against young prospects, Broughton is back in Ogden to open the 2022 Raptors season, which begins Wednesday night at Lindquist Field, starting Year 2 in the independent Pioneer League.
That’s to the benefit of the Raptors and their fans, no doubt, but chances are Broughton won’t last long this time.
“He’s a preseason MVP-type of guy. He really looks good,” Beauchamp said. “We’ve got to get him to an organization. Got to.”
Broughton’s goal is to make it impossible for scouts to ignore him, though that comes, he says, by doing “everything right, try to win games and be the best teammate possible — then only good things can come out of that.”
The 6-foot-3 native of Jacksonville, Florida, and graduate of Valdosta State had one goal this offseason as he didn’t gain much traction with MLB teams. He spent a bunch of time in Los Angeles working out with his NFL brothers Curtis Marsh and Cassius Marsh.
“That’s good work when I go out there,” Broughton said.
He says he’s put on 35 pounds without sacrificing any of his speed.
“I felt like it would help my body throughout the season and would be beneficial in the home-run category. Not trying to hit home runs, but I want to hit for more power, have a little more pop,” he said.
Broughton also trained considerably on baserunning. He put up numbers and pressured defenses last season despite having a hurt foot, and finished the season wishing he’d spent more time working on stealing bases (he stole 13 in 2021).
“I just didn’t steal as many bags as I wanted, I didn’t get jumps,” he said “So training in the offseason, I was working on starting position and certain things like that, just really working on it.”
From last September, it seemed fairly clear to Broughton that if he didn’t sign with an MLB team that returning to Ogden would be his best choice.
“This is like a home for me. I was comfortable with Kash talking to him on the phone. It just felt like this is where I’m supposed to be and I think it’s the best place for me to make it to the next level and get closer to making it to the big leagues. It’s the best place for me to succeed.”
The fans and community were instrumental to that, too.
“Ogden is so welcoming,” Broughton said. “The community here is awesome, I feel like it’s so personal. All the fans want you to be great and succeed, and if you don’t get signed they want you to come back. That feeling is just nice.”