Blake Gailen

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Blake Shane Gailen

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Biographical Information[edit]

Blake Gailen has been a productive player in the independent leagues (winning two batting titles and finishing second another time); in the affiliated minors, he reached AAA.

Gailen was 19-4 as a pitcher his last two years in high school, throwing one no-hitter. In junior college in 2005, he made All-Western State Conference. He hit .280/.385/.496 and was 0-1 with a 9.55 ERA in 12 games. He batted .298/.399/.480 with 15 steals in 16 tries and 49 runs in 57 games in 2007 and had a 8.68 ERA in four games pitched. He was 8th in the Mountain West Conference in steals and tied for 6th with 32 walks.

Undrafted out of college, he was signed by the independent Anderson Joes and hit .368/.455/.526 while going 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA as a strong two-way threat. He moved up to a stronger indy circuit in 2008, hitting .266/.325/.371 for the Wichita Wingnuts while posting a 1-3, 4.66 record; it would be his last season as a two-way player. He produced at a .355/.447/.484 clip for the 2009 Chico Outlaws with 8 outfield assists to two errors and 47 walks to 39 strikeouts at the plate. He was 5th in the Golden Baseball League in walks, 7th in average and 4th in OBP (between Nelson Castro and Sergio Pedroza).

He was even better for Chico in 2010, with a batting line of .387/.480/.603 and 61 runs in 55 games. He missed a month after running into a wall trying to make a catch. He finished second to Larry Bigbie in average, 3rd in OBP (after Bigbie and Kevin Price) and 4th in OPS. He joined Bigbie and Drew Miller as the All-Star outfielders. He was then 7 for 10 in the postseason to win playoff MVP.

He signed with the Lincoln Saltdogs for 2011 and actually had a better batting line - .406/.479/.622! He led the American Association in average (.028 ahead of Stephen Douglas), slugging (.003 over Trent Lockwood), OPS (.027 better than Juan Richardson) and OPS (35 points ahead of Lockwood). He set the league record breaking for average, breaking Beau Torbert's mark of .394. He somehow got left off the league All-Star team as Douglas, Ray Sadler and Ryan Patterson were picked as the outfielders. He earned a brief look with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Arkansas Travelers, his first foray into the affiliated leagues, hitting .208/.322/.366 in 29 games. He replaced Mike Trout on Arkansas when Trout was called up.

Gailen starred next for the Lancaster Barnstormers, hitting .338/.415/.534 with 22 home runs, 25 steals in 31 tries, 94 runs and 89 RBI. He won the Atlantic League batting title (.011 over Adam Godwin) and led in OBP (.006 over Brian Burgamy). He was second in runs (four behind Fehlandt Lentini), third in hits (169, behind Godwin and Lentini), tied Jeremy Owens for 5th in home runs, 4th in RBI, was 8th in steals (between Freddie Bynum and Brian Barton) and ranked 4th in walks (68). He joined Lentini, Prentice Redman and Ryan Harvey as the Atlantic League All-Star outfielders; he also took home the Player of the Year Award and the Baseball America Independent League Player of the Year.

Back with Lancaster for 2013, he batted .288/.385/.454 with 35 doubles, 65 walks, 20 steals in 30 tries and 72 runs. He finished third in two-baggers (behind Andres Perez and Olmo Rosario), tied for 9th in steals, was second in walks (two behind Jonny Tucker) and was in the top 10 in OBP. The Toronto Blue Jays signed him late and he got into 8 games for the Buffalo Bisons (.286/.276/.464). He wintered with the Mazatlan Deer, for whom he had a .231/.326/.426 batting line and 8 home runs in 46 games. He easily led the team in dingers, double runner-up Issmael Salas.

In 2014, Gailen hit .350/.460/.646 with 18 homers, 51 walks, 54 runs and 52 RBI in only 66 games for Lancaster. Despite playing half a year, he tied Jose Julio Ruiz and Blake Opitz for 6th in the Atlantic League in home runs. He also played 51 games for the Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican League and hit well there also (.271/.385/.537, 11 HR, 35 BB, 21 K in 51 G). In the winter, he played for both Venezuela's Leones del Caracas (.211/.341/.316, 15 BB in 22 G) and Mazatlan (.246/.354/.435 in 19 G).

The veteran began 2015 again with the Barnstormers and hit .252/.387/.464 with 34 walks and 8 home runs in 44 games. The Angels signed him for a second time and he batted .232/.351/.408 with 10 home runs and 50 walks in 76 games for Arkansas. He hit .280/.354/.427 in 48 games for the 2016 Lancaster team.

He then joined the Israeli national team for the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. He did not start the first two games but got the nod in the finale against Great Britain, starting in center field and hitting 9th. He put on a strong show in a 9-1 romp as Israel locked up a spot in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, their first World Baseball Classic. He drew a third-inning walk from Spencer Kreisberg was stranded. In the 5th, with the game still scoreless, he hit a two-run homer off Ali Knowles for what would be the winning hit, scoring Scotty Burcham. In the 6th, he lined out against Nolan Bond. In the 8th, he drew a walk from Greg Hendrix and scored on a fly from Ryan Lavarnway (who graduated from the same high school as Gailen, a couple years off). Mike Meyers replaced him in CF in the 9th. He thus finished the day with two runs, two RBI and a 2750 OPS. Among players in the qualifiers with more than one plate appearance, he had the best OPS, 917 ahead of Trent D'Antonio.

Gailen became a hitting coach with the ACL Dodgers in 2022-2023 and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2024. He also served as the third base coach for Israel in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Notable Achievements[edit]


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