Atlantic League Honors Reed, Gailen, Casteel
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball has named three members of the 2018 Lancaster Barnstormers to its season-end All-Star Team, it was announced today by league officials.
The trio – left-handed starter Nate Reed, outfielder Blake Gailen and catcher Ryan Casteel – all had superb seasons for the Barnstormers, who finished with a 74-52 record as a club.
Reed, named as the league’s premier starting pitcher, went 13-3 with a 2.75 ERA for the campaign. The lefty from Reading led the league in wins, finished third in ERA and tied for fifth in strikeouts (104). He was chosen as the circuit’s Pitcher of the Month in both May (5-0, 1.04) and August (3-0, 1.96). He did not allow a run in any of his last four regular season starts and was not scratched for a run until the seventh inning of his second start in the playoff series against Sugar Land.
Over the course of the year, Reed became Lancaster’s all-time leader in strikeouts with 347, passing manager Ross Peeples. The former Kutztown ace was in his fourth season with the Barnstormers and his fifth in the Atlantic League overall.
Gailen returned to Lancaster for a seventh season, the first position player to be in Lancaster for that length of time. The 2012 Atlantic League Player of the Year showed no signs of slowing down, leading the league with 28 home runs and 91 runs batted in. He was the league’s player of the month for June when he hit nine homers and knocked in 24 in a span of 17 games.
His home run rampage continued into the post-season when he belted two in the first game of the Freedom Division Series against the Skeeters.
In the process, the right fielder from California became the first player in franchise history to play in every game of a season. He started in 123 of the 126 and was used as a pinch hitter in the other three.
Overall, he has 99 home runs in his Barnstormers career, tied for the 10th best mark in Atlantic League history.
Casteel was in his first season in the league and had a huge second half to propel the Barnstormers to their first playoff berth in three seasons.
The Tennessee native hit .321 for the year with 16 home runs and 70 RBI while appearing in 104 games. In his final 42 games of the year, Casteel hit .371 (56-151) with nine homers and 38 RBI. That stretch was highlighted on September 2 at Sugar Land, when the righty slugger became only the third player in Barnstormers’ history to bat for the cycle.
His stretch run earned him Player of the Year honors as voted upon by Barnstormers fans. Casteel also contributed nine hits over the five games of the Freedom Division Series.
“Congratulations to all three of those players, who are not only good ballplayers but great human beings,” said Peeples. “All three had great years and served as the heart and soul of our squad. I enjoyed watching them compete on a daily basis.”