First baseman Craig Brazell, a 27-year-old Royals farmhand who led the minor leagues with 39 home runs in 2007 between Double-A Wichita and Triple-A Omaha, will play for the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League in 2008 after the Royals sold the Lions his contract.
Brazell started 2007 in Double-A, where he hit .349/.408/.587 with seven home runs in 109 at-bats. In 433 Triple-A at-bats, he slugged 32 more home runs and hit .307/.337/.605 before going 1-for-4 with a walk in a September callup to Kansas City. Those five plate appearances were the first for Brazell since 2004—his only other year in which he recorded an at-bat in the majors—when he hit .265/.286/.412 in 34 at-bats for the Mets.
A longtime minor leaguer, Brazell played 10 minor league seasons after the Mets drafted him as a catcher in the fifth round in 1998. Power has always been Brazell’s best tool, with 162 career minor league home runs. Brazell’s plate discipline has never come around though—in 3,626 minor league at-bats, he has just 161 walks, and despite a .284 minor league batting average, his on-base percentage is just .314. Brazell also led the minors in 2007 with 326 total bases.