Next to manager Ross Peeples, no one is more synonymous with Lancaster Barnstormers Baseball than outfielder Blake Gailen.
Gailen, who paces the Barnstormers with 99 career home runs as well as in many other categories, will be returning to Lancaster for an eighth season, it was announced today by manager Ross Peeples.
It will the California native’s first time with Lancaster since the 2018 campaign when he batted .282 with a league leading 28 homers. He drove in 91 runs in that campaign.
The product of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas made the most of his first season in the Atlantic League in 2012, capturing the league batting title with a .338 mark while contributing 26 doubles, 22 homers, 25 steals and 89 RBI while helping Lancaster to a franchise-best 88 wins. For his efforts, the lefty batter was not only named Atlantic League Player of the Year, but he also captured the Independent League Player of the Year honors from trade publication, Baseball America.
Gailen also played an instrumental role in 2014 championship season, batting .350 with 18 homers in only 66 games that bookended time with two different clubs in the Mexican League.
He also has used Lancaster to springboard into three different Major League organizations, going to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013, the LA Angels in 2015 and the LA Dodgers twice, in 2017 and 2019.
A member of team Israel, Gailen has represented that nation in the World Baseball Classic and is also expected to join Lancaster teammate Jared Lakind in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
“Blake is a fan favorite and has put up great numbers here,” said Peeples. “We are excited to have him and his bat back in our lineup.”
“I’m excited and humbled to be coming back to play for the ‘Stormers,” Gailen added. “I’m looking forward to the continued love and support that city and the best fans in the Atlantic League have provided as well as the hope to bring another Atlantic League Championship to Lancaster.”
The signing of Gailen gives the Barnstormers 14 players under contract for the 2021 season, which begins May 27 at Gastonia, NC’s new FUSE District Stadium.