ST. PAUL, MN (July 1, 2013) – With one big swing of the bat on June 18 Craig Brazell helped propel the St. Paul Saints to victory. His grand slam got the Saints offense going, but it did a little more for his career. With a representative from the Chiba Lotte Marines in attendance, Brazell had his contract purchased and landed himself another opportunity with a Japanese Major League team.
The 33-year-old Brazell has had another monster season for the Saints hitting .347 with four homers and 21 RBI in 27 games. In 101 at bats he scored 13 runs, had 10 doubles with a .389 on base percentage and a .564 slugging percentage. Despite many pitchers in the league pitching around Brazell he still produced offensively and is one of the most feared hitters in the league. Brazell will join the Marines of Japan’s Pacific League.
“Playing for the Saints again was a great feeling,” said Brazell. “It brought me back to the roots of baseball. The people of St. Paul are great. The fans are awesome, they really treat us well.”
The Marines were once managed by Bobby Valentine and former American players like Julio Franco, Benny Agbayani and former Saints player Darryl Motley have played for the organization.
Brazell becomes the fourth Saints player this year to have his contract purchased. His contract is the 110th sold to an organization by the Saints with 104 different players. Six players, including Brazell, have now had their contracts purchased twice. He also had his contract purchased in 2009 by the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
“I wouldn’t have come back to the Saints if it wasn’t for George and the opportunity he gave me,” said Brazell. “It was kind of the same way in 2009. He brought in a guy he knew he didn’t have to say much too, just go out and play. George is great with the younger guys and he’s been around the game a while and you have to respect that.”
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 Tigers. 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 289 homers, 1030 RBI and a career average of .281. During five seasons at Japan’s highest level of baseball he hit .269 with 118 homers and 365 RBI.
The Saints roster stands at the league maximum of 22, 10 pitchers and 12 positions players.