ST. PAUL, MN (February 7, 2013) – He donned the St. Paul Saints uniform for just one week in 2009, but he left an indelible mark. Infielder Craig Brazell, who destroyed American Association pitching, has just re-signed with the Saints after spending the last four seasons launching long balls in Japan.
The 32-year-old Brazell began the 2009 season with the Saints, but after going 18-31 with four doubles, four homers and 12 RBI in seven games and being named the American Association Player of the Week, his contract was purchased from the Saints by the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball League (the highest level of baseball ) in Japan. During that season he hit .291 with 16 homers and 49 RBI in 82 games. In 2010 he may have had his best all-around season when he hit .296 with 47 homers and 117 RBI in 143 games for the Tigers. In 564 at bats he scored 82 runs, had 15 doubles, an on base percentage of .329 and a whopping .573 slugging percentage. In 2011 he hit .282 with 16 homers and 69 RBI while last season he hit .233 with 12 homers and 43 RBI.
Brazell spent the entire 2008 season in Nippon’s Pacific League for the Seibu Lions. He hit .234 with 27 homers and 87 RBI in 130 games. In 471 at bats he roped 19 doubles with a .294 on base percentage and a .446 slugging percentage.
Brazell was drafted by the New York Mets in the 5th round of the June Amateur Draft out of high school and was rated as their ninth best prospect in 2004 according to Baseball America. That year he reached the Major’s with the Mets and played in 24 games where he hit .265 with one homer and three RBI. He hit his only Major League homer off of Kent Mercker of the Chicago Cubs on September 25 at Shea Stadium.
After joining the LA Dodgers in 2006 and playing at Double-A Jacksonville, he joined the Kansas City Royals organization in 2007. He blasted 32 homers at Triple-A Omaha and was called up to the Majors. He played five games with the Royals and went 1-4.
During Brazell’s 15-year professional career he has 284 homers, 1006 RBI and a career average of .280. During five seasons at Japan’s highest level of baseball he hit .269 with 118 homers and 365 RBI.
During the off-season the Saints have signed seven players, five pitchers and two position player. The Saints 2013 season begins on Thursday, May 16 with a 7:05 p.m. home game against the New Jersey Jackals.