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The Newest Members of Team Supreme Dominate at the Premier Fall Baseball League



Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Supreme Protein: Supreme Protein Bars, Superfeature Articles
By Daniel Collier | Dec 28, 2009



Supreme Protein's MLB
Superstars of Tomorrow


The Arizona Fall League is an elite baseball league held annually each MLB offseason in the Phoenix, Arizona area.  Top minor league players from each franchise are sent to this desert classic each year to showcase their skills for scouts, general managers, and farm directors from around the league.

Described by baseball insiders as a "graduate school" for top minor league prospects, the Arizona Fall League has helped groom a significant portion of the superstars of today. In fact, the 2008 MLB All-Star Game featured 36 AFL alumni and five out of the last nine MLB MVPs have played in this prestigious league. All-Stars like Albert Pujols, Justin Morneau, Jason Giambi, David Wright, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Derrek Lee, Ryan Braun and Ryan Howard have all played in the desert in the fall.

In many cases, the talent is so major-league-ready that some of the participating players go on to have breakout years in the big leagues the following regular season. Last year's prime example was Atlanta Braves pitcher and Team Supreme member Tommy Hanson.  A strong rookie of the year contender, Hanson led all Major League rookies in ERA (2.89),WHIP (1.18) and opponent's batting average (.2 25).  

This season was no different.  In fact, four players, all of them highly regarded prospects from various teams around the league, really stood out among the rest. I had the opportunity to sit down with each of them to discuss their fitness and nutrition strategies along with some of their other keys to success.   
           



 
Mike Leake   

Mike Leake found big stage success as a teen in his victories at the USA Baseball tournament. But that would only be the beginning for this superstar. Out of high school, Leake was selected in the seventh round (218th overall pick) by the Oakland Athletics in the 2006 MLB Draft, but turned it down to play for the Arizona State Sun Devils. This would prove to be a great decision for his future career and collegiate experience. His freshman year at ASU, Leake accrued 13 victories during the 2007 season, which is tied for 3rd most victories by a freshman in school history. In his sophomore year, Leake was awarded PAC-10 Pitcher of the Year and finished the season 11-3, starting 16 games and leading the PAC-10 with 121.1 innings pitched. In those 121.1 innings, Leake struck out 104 batters while only walking 20. The following summer, he played for the USA Junior National Team, notching Gold Medals at the Haarlem Baseball Tournament in the Netherlands and the FISU World Championships in the Czech Republic. Leake went 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA in eight appearances, including two starts. In his final and most dominant season at ASU, Leake was named National Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association and won a Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year award for the second straight season, becoming the first ever back-to-back winner and fourth two-time winner...he was also a Golden Spikes Award Finalist.  That season he led the Pac-10 with his 1.71 ERA, 142 innings pitched and 162 strikeouts. Opponents hit only .193 against him. In the 2009 MLB Draft, the Cincinnati Reds selected Mike with the eighth overall pick. The Reds were impressed by Leake's command of his arsenal of pitches, which included 88-94mph fastball, slider, curveball and his most impressive pitch, a plus changeup that he will throw at any point in the count.  In Leake's professional debut on October 15, 2009, Leake pitched two scoreless innings for the Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League, allowing four hits and a walk. Mike Leake was selected to compete in the AFL's "Rising Stars" game on November 7, 2009.

Q&A

Q. What has the experience been like playing in the prestigious Arizona Fall League?
A. Playing in the Arizona Fall League was a great honor. It is all the top AA and AAA players thrown into one league, showing why they are where they are. It was a great opportunity for me to see if I belonged in the league and to open eyes around the nation.

Q. How important is fitness and maintaining a consistent workout routine to succeeding as a professional baseball pitcher? - Please elaborate.
A. If you do not maintain body weight and muscle mass throughout a season it shows. You begin to break down, which causes a chain reaction in your body. As soon as one body part begins to fatigue it triggers another body part to fatigue. That is why you need to find a consistent diet, workout routine, and amount of rest.

Q. What types of endurance and or other training do you do to build your stamina to pitch late into games?
A. I don't enjoy long distance running therefore I look for more "exciting" ways to condition. I play games with outfielders during batting practice. For example, I see how many balls I can get before they stop rolling or see how many fly balls I am able to catch. I enjoy doing sprints as well.  As far as keeping my arm strength, I play long toss to keep my arm stretched out and loose.

Q. How important is getting the proper nutrition to a professional ballplayer?- Also, please elaborate on the difficulty of getting proper nutrition as a minor league baseball player.  
A. Getting proper nutrition is virtually impossible unless you make your own meals in minor league ball. You may get lucky and have a good clubby who is big on nutrition but for the most part PB&J's will be your best friend. Getting the proper nutrition is vital to maximizing your consistency and strength. It takes one bad day of eating to get started on the wrong path, and many ball players do it.

" Supreme Protein bars are probably the best tasting bar out there. On days when the clubby does not do too well with the spread I crack into my Supreme Protein goody bag and eat it to get some better nutrition out of the meal. They are convenient to throw in your baseball bag to eat as a mid-game snack to re-boost the energy level."



                      Lucas May                      

After graduating from Parkway West High School in Ballwin, Missouri, where he holds the record for most career doubles, he skipped college and entered the Major League Baseball draft in 2003. He was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 8th round as the 241st overall pick. May began his professional baseball career playing shortstop with the Gulf Coast Dodgers. He batted .252 in 48 games. May continued in the rookie league in 2004 with the Ogden Raptors, gaining more experience in the minor leagues. In his 2004 season, May hit five home runs with a .286 batting average over 34 games. Due to his success in the rookie leagues, May was promoted to the Columbus Catfish, the Single-A affiliate in 2005. The Columbus Catfish moved May around to the outfield and gave him valuable experience at different positions. He continued with Columbus in the 2006 season and his numbers increased. He hit 18 homeruns and had a .273 batting average over a span of 119 games. May continued to impress and he was moved up to the Advanced Single-A Inland Empire 66ers. They were impressed with May's batting, but they decided to try out his defensive skills behind the plate.His numbers continued to soar. He was tied for second in the California League with 25 home runs and over the course of the season accumulated 89 RBIs. His strikeout totals decreased as well, from 130 to 107. His accomplishments did not go unnoticed. He was named to the California League All Star team and scored two runs in the 2007 All Star game.May was assigned to the Double-A Jacksonville Suns for the 2008 season. He hit 13 homeruns and had a .230 batting average in 392 plate appearances. May was then assigned to play for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts in 2009. His success did not slow down and his numbers were equally impressive, batting .306 with six homers and 32 RBIs in 68 games. He was named to the Southern League mid-season All Star team and played in the 2009 Baseball World Cup for Team USA.  More recently, Lucas was selected to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League's Rising Star Game.

Q&A

Q. What has the experience been like playing in the prestigious Arizona Fall League
A. Playing in the Fall League this year was an awesome experience. Our team was legit, we won a ton of games, and even won a championship.  Our guys were as loose as it gets in the clubhouse, but when it came down to business, everyone pulled for each other and good things happened. Definitely one of the best groups of guys I've been around.
 
Q. How important is fitness and maintaining a consistent workout routine to succeeding as a professional baseball catcher?- Please elaborate.   
A. To be successful behind the plate starts with one thing, good physical shape.  In order for your mind to be in the right place, your body has to be in the right place.  It takes a sacrifice during the year.  If I feel tired or sore, it is imperative that I get in the gym that day and trust it will make me feel better for the next day. There are times during the year where days off need to be days off, but more times than not, a day out of the lineup means a day of hard work in the gym.

Q. Being an everyday catcher in the major leagues you have to be durable.  Is there any specific things you do in your workout routine to assist you with that? 
A. I believe durability begins with the strength of small, intrinsic muscle groups.  These are muscle groups people forget about or hate working on because you can not see the results in a mirror.  A typical workout during the season for me consists of general lifts to keep my weight up, squats, lunges, bench press, etc. along with rubber band hip work and lots of rotator cuff and shoulder maintenance exercises.  At the end of every workout I will do some sort of core routine.  I try to mix it up on everything to keep my body guessing, while still hitting all the major areas.

.   
Q. How important is getting the proper nutrition to a professional baseball player?  Please also elaborate on the difficulty of getting proper nutrition as a minor league ballplayer.
A. Nutrition, along with a workout routine has impacted me the most over the last couple years.  It's extremely hard eating right in the minor leagues with long bus rides, bad clubhouse managers giving you pizza after games, things like that.  But when we have home series', that's when I am able to make adjustments and get back on track.  I am lucky as a catcher in the way that I don't have to be picky on what I eat.  I burn so many calories during the summer that it’s ok for me to eat as much as I can eat.  In fact if I don't, I will lose up to 15 pounds over the course of a long hot summer. It's important for me to pick the foods that will stay with me, not greasy fast foods.
 
" Supreme Protein Bars are exactly what I need during a game.  It's part of my routine that I eat a protein bar during the fifth inning everyday.  With the protein bars being worth 400 calories, over the course of a 160 game season, that is  over 15 pounds that I am guaranteed not to lose! The taste makes it easy to eat, unlike many other bars out there. On my way out to the field for a game, I have my gear, my water, and my Supreme Protein bar."



                               Brad Boxberger                           

Born into baseball blood, Brad Boxberger has had big cleats to fill ever since he first stepped foot on a mound. Brad's father went 12-1 with a 2.00 ERA and earned the College World Series MVP award for the 1978 national champio nship USC team. Brad’s talent was obvious from the beginning, but after being selected out of high school by the Royals in the 20th round of the 2006 draft, he chose instead to follow in his father's footsteps by attending USC. In his freshman season at USC, Boxberger eventually earned Rivals.com All-America second team honors. Boxberger pitched 90 innings and struck out 72 batters. He went 3-5 with a 3.20 ERA and allowed 32 earned runs while allowing 34 walks. Boxberger was selected to the Freshman All-America second team. As a sophomore in 2008, he pitched 50 innings, allowing 54 hits and 34 earned runs while walking 26 and striking out 52. He went 2-4 on the season and recorded three saves. In his junior season in 2009, Boxberger started 14 games and was 6-3 on the year with a 3.16 era. He allowed 33 earned runs while walking 50, but he led the team in strikeouts with 99. In his three-year career with the Trojans, Boxberger was 11-12 with a 3.81 ERA. In 234 innings, he allowed 201 hits and 99 earned runs while striking out 223 batters. Brad Boxberger's hard work paid off and he was an All-Pac-10 selection in 2009. His impressive junior season led to an outstanding summer season for the Chatham A's of the Cape Cod Baseball League. He appeared in 19 games for the A's and was their closer. He went 1-2 with a 2.89 era, recording 9 saves in the process.  In 18 2/3 innings, he allowed 11 hits, 6 runs, walked 8 and struck out 28. More impressive, he did not allow a home run all summer. Boxberger was selected in the supplemental first round (43rd overall) of the 2009 draft by the Cincinnati Reds.  On October 19, 2009, Brad Boxberger made his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League.

Q&A

Q. What has the experience been like playing in the prestigious Arizona Fall League?
A. The experience of the Fall League was one of a kind that I would not change for anything.  It was an honor to be chosen to play and represent the Cincinnati Reds. I must say it was challenging both mentally and physically. However, the experience I gained by playing against some of the top players in the country has helped prepare me for the future.

Q. How important is fitness and maintaining a consistent workout routine to succeeding as a professional baseball pitcher?- Please elaborate.
A. Keeping up with a well maintained fitness routine is critical in succeeding as a professional baseball pitcher. Without a constant fitness program the ability to make it through a whole season healthy is nearly impossible. By keeping up with a fitness program it makes the physical strains on the field easier to cope with then it would be without the routine. A workout routine also helps with pitching longer and later into games. The physical demand of each game takes a toll on your body as the season progresses and without the physical strength, it would be near impossible to perform late into the season.

Q. What types of endurance and/or other training do you do to build your stamina to pitch late into games?
A. My main endurance training is cardio. Whether it is running long distances or riding a stationary bike I like to keep up endurance through cardio activities. I also like to do several shoulder stabilization exercises to strengthen my shoulders and back as well. Many of my workouts are up-tempo and do not have a lot of rest time. The reduced rest time between exercises also helps to build my endurance.

Q. How important is getting the proper nutrition to a professional ballplayer? - Also, please elaborate on the difficulty of getting proper nutrition as a minor league baseball player.  
A. Proper nutrition is one of the hardest things to maintain as a minor league player. We are fed at certain times of the day but many of the meals are either not as healthy as I would like or they are not at a time that would be normal to eat because of the different game times. Given the long days and nights, eating at the right time and finding healthy food when on the road can be difficult. Many times the only places open late to eat are fast food restaurants and they do not have any healthy food to choose from.

"The Supreme Protein bars are some of the best protein bars I have tried. Many other bars have a chalky taste to them but these do not. They are very convenient to take on the road to games and workouts. They are easy to pack in my bag and help to give me a boost of energy during workouts. Those boosts of energy are very helpful in advanced workouts, especially later in the season."



Chris Province

Province began his college career close to home at nearby Southeastern Louisiana University.  It wasn't until his junior year where Chris began ho ning his skill into a professional talent.  He pitched 70 innings for the Lions going 4-7 with 5 saves. Chris struck out 49 batters his junior year and that gave him the confidence he needed going into his senior year. In his senior season, he pitched 50 1/3 innings, giving up only 55 hits and striking out 41 batters.In 2007, he was selected by Boston in the 4th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and was assigned to the Single-A Lowell Spinners where he made his Minor League Debut on July 9, 2007. Province had an impressive start to his professional career, making 3 appearances, pitching 5.1 innings while giving up zero runs, 4 strikeouts and recording one save. After a successful beginning, Province was promoted to Greenville, where he made 15 appearances, pitched 33 innings with a 4.91 ERA, 23 strikeouts, and recorded two saves. Chris would later move up from the Low A Greenville Drive to the High A Lancaster Jethawks.  In 2009, Province once again moved up the ladder and joined the AA Portland Seadogs. He made 43 appearances, pitching 79.2 innings while recording 55 strikeouts and 2.60 ERA earning a spot on the 2009 Eastern League All-Star team.  In his 3 seasons of Minor League play, Province has pitched 252.1 innings, has a 14-12 winning record, 156 strikeouts and a 4.03 era.   Chris has earned his way to the Arizona Fall League where he is a member of the Mesa Solar Sox and among the league leaders in ERA.

Q&A

Q. What has the experience been like playing in the prestigious Arizona Fall League?
A. It has been a blessing to be able to play against the elite players in the country. It has been an experience that I will be able to take with me throughout my career.

Q. How important is fitness and maintaining a consistent workout routine to succeeding as a professional baseball pitcher? - Please elaborate.

A. I think fitness and the consistency of a pitcher's workout is one of the most important factors in being one of the elite in our line of work. The amount of stress and work that is put on our bodies on a daily basis would be impossible to endure over a long period without putting in the hard work in the gym.

Q. What types of endurance and/or other training do you do to build your stamina to pitch late into games?
A. Long distance running is always a must to go deep in games but recovery time running also is vital. I put a lot of emphasis on explosive running (sprints, box jumps, jump rope). Arm strength is a very important part of my workouts. To throw at a high level of intensity throughout an entire season requires some type of strengthening workout regimen for your shoulder and elbow.

Q. How important is getting the proper nutrition to a professional ballplayer?  Also, please elaborate on the difficulty of getting proper nutrition as a minor league baseball player.
A. Nutrition has been a major part of my habits that I have changed since playing professional ball. Your body will not hold up without consuming the proper supplements and nutrients. The intake of these vital foods and supplements are extremely hard in the minor leagues because of the scheduling. Sometimes I have no choice but to eat at 10:30 at night 6 nights out of the week, but I must use that time to put the best products and foods in my body.

"The Supreme Protein bars have the taste of a candy bar and the nutritional content of a protein shake. As a minor league player it is not always convenient to put a shake together but the bars are easy and handy."
            














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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.





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