Paul said that Brendan's approach last season "was that if he saw a ball he could handle, he was going to go after it." Although he won the Midwest League Batting Title, he only drew 24 walks in 426 at bats.
"With the encouragement of hitting coach (Derrick) May and others, he's taken a completely different approach (this season)," Paul said on the Scout.com Cardinals message board. "He now will take the first strike and consistently goes deep into counts. Last season he had 8 walks in the first half, this season he already has 6."
The new approach has also led to an increase in batting average (.328), slugging percentage (.483), and On-Base Percentage (.391) to this point at Palm Beach (High-A).
As for his defense which many consider to be his weakness (31 errors in 2004), Paul believes that will also improve. After reminding us that Brendan only had one year of experience at shortstop, playing mostly second base all through highschool before the Cardinals drafted him, Paul said that Brendan's "greatest weakness at shortstop is not his range or his arm; moreover, it's his tendency to try to be too quick." Paul believes that with time and maturity it will work itself out.
Paul also expects to see some more power from Brendan in the next year or two as he continues to fill out.
"In high school and college he hit for power and average," Paul said. "Mostly since he's turned pro he's had warning track power, but he's going to naturally get stronger with age...
"If you want my opinion, the best has yet to come."
Brendan is wearing uniform number 16 this season in honor of his father who unexpectedly passed away a few weeks before spring training.
"We come from a family where baseball is like oxygen," Paul said. "Brendan would tell you he owes most of his success to our father. He was 62 years old, played college baseball at Loyola Marymount and was a respected X's and O's baseball man."
News and notes * Chris Duncan, John Nelson, and Skip Schumaker are all new to Triple-A, having all three spent the 2004 season at Double-A Tennessee, but you sure wouldn't notice by looking at their numbers.
All three are hitting over .300, have on-base percentages over .360, and are slugging at least .500.
''Chris has been swinging the bat well since he got here,'' Memphis manager Danny Sheaffer told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. ''We've been pleasantly surprised with the transition from Double-A with Schumaker and Nelson and Duncan. Those guys have really carried themselves very well.''
* Anthony Reyes pitched his best game of the season on Friday night for Memphis. After allowing two runs in the third inning, the right-hander retired the last 14 batters he faced. Reyes struck out a Redbirds season-high nine batters in seven innings of work. In three starts, the Cardinals top prospect is 1-1 with a 3.93 ERA and a 19/4 K/BB ratio in 18.1 innings.
* As first reported here at The Birdhouse on Friday, the Cardinals signed lefthander Gabe White on Friday. On Sunday the Cardinals activated him and placed him on the Memphis roster after righthander Neiro Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list.
* The Cardinals gave righthanded reliever Bob File his unconditional release on Saturday after activating him from the Memphis (AAA) disabled list. Having not yet appeared in a game, File was placed on the disabled list on April 17 with back spasms.
File, 28, was signed by the Cardinals as a minor league free agent in January with an invitation to spring training after being in the Toronto Blue Jays organization since 1998.
* Also on Saturday, catcher Cody McKay was placed on the DL for Memphis after he suffered a broken wrist in Friday night's game at New Orleans. To replace him the Cardinals called catcher Brad Cresse back up from Springfield (AA). Cresse started the season in Memphis before being sent down to replace catcher Gabe Johnson on April 18.
Johnson is expected to miss 8-10 weeks after having surgery to repair a broken knee cap on April 19.
Catcher Jason Motte was called up to Springfield from Palm Beach (A) to replace Cresse.
* Shaun Boyd is finally starting to hit in Double-A. The 23-year-old extended his hitting streak to 11 games, going 3-for-4 with an RBI on Sunday night for Springfield. Overall, he is hitting .290/.405/.323 as Springfield's leadoff hitter.
Boyd, the Cardinals first round pick in 2000, hit only .190 in 54 games at Double-A Tennessee last season, though he did hit .344 in the 39 games for Palm Beach (Low-A) after the Cardinals sent him down.
* Tyler Minges has been Springfield's best hitter to this point, hitting .414/.426/.724 in 58 at bats. The Cardinals signed the 25-year-old as a minor league free agent in December.
* According to the St. Louis Post-Disptach, the Cardinals will activate outfielder Rick Ankiel and assign him to Palm Beach (High-A). If Ankiel proves to be healthy in the games this week, the Cardinals said he could be promoted to Springfield by this weekend, at the earliest. The plan would be for him to start at designated hitter and eventually work his way back into the outfield.
Ankiel has been sidelined the past three weeks because of a back sprain.
* Cardinals catching prospect Brandon Yarbrough hit for the cycle on April 19 for the Swing of the Quad Cities. Coming into the game with only one hit in 21 at bats, the 20-year-old went 4-5, scored 4 runs, drove in 3 runs, and even drew a walk. He is currently hitting only .188/.250/.406.
* Eric Haberer, the Cardinals 3rd round pick in 2004 out of Southern Illinois, has allowed only two earned runs in three starts for Quad Cities. He is 2-1 with a 0.92 era and an 8/1 K/BB ratio in 19.2 innings.
* Matt Scherer was great in his first start for Quad Cities since being recalled from extended spring training. The Cardinals 16th round pick last June picked up the win on Sunday night by allowing only 5 hits and 1 run in 5.1 innings while striking out 6 and walking only 1. The opposing pitcher was Homer Bailey, the 7th overall pick in last year's draft. The 18-year-old received a $2.3 million bonus from Cincinnati after being drafted.
"I was excited to be out there. I got up here from extended spring training on Saturday, and obviously things are going pretty well right now,'' Scherer told the Quad-City Times. "I wanted to come out and do the best I could to keep it going.''
* Watch for outfielder Sal Frisella to be activated soon. His suspension ended on Sunday.
Frisella was suspended on April 4 for violating Major League Baseball's Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
I received an email from Sal's father Jim saying that it was ephedra that Sal tested positive for and that it was in a weight loss supplement he was using while recovering from his broken leg.
Frisella broke his leg in a collision at home plate in August last season while playing for the Peoria Chiefs (Low-A).
Ephedra was illegal at the time Frisella was suspended, but the ban was struck down by a federal judge on April 14, ruling in favor of a Utah supplement company that claimed ephedra "has been safely consumed" for hundreds of years, and that ephedra was wrongly being regulated by the FDA as a drug and not a food.