EDMONTON, AB - It’s business as usual at RE/MAX Field, at least as far as the on-field product is concerned.
While the uncertainty of the ballpark’s future has added an unexpected hiccup to the Edmonton Prospects 2019 offseason, head coach Jordan Blundell is confident that the team that takes the field on May 25th against the Lethbridge Bulls could make some waves in the WCBL this season.
“We feel we’ve got some good players together,” said the Prospects new bench boss. “I can’t wait for them to come up (to Edmonton) and start living the game here and breathing Prospects baseball.”
“We’re confident in our group. We feel we’ve got a lot of talent, and more importantly a lot of good people. Success breeds success, and we feel we’ve got a ton of character. When you put a lot of good people together, that’s when you start to think something special could happen.”
The Prospects latest round of additions and returns were announced early this week, with RHP’s Andrew Lowe and Brendan Owens joining the organization from LSUS (Shreveport). In addition, Beaux Guilbeau (C/OF) returns to the Prospects for his second season in Edmonton.
It’s yet another example of targeted recruiting, said Blundell.
“When you have the ability to sign players who have that experience and the culture that we’re looking for, it bodes well for all of us, especially for our younger guys. (LSUS) is the kind of school that every time they take the field, they’re a team that the other team is gunning for. Everyone wants to beat the LSUS Pilots, and that’s a pressure that these guys love. It’s a reason that we’ve tried to recruit from that school; they know how to get going when the going gets tough.”
Lowe, 22, has appeared in nine games this season sporting a 2-0 record with 31 strikeouts. While the 6’5 pitcher is the single junior of the three players joining the Prospects from LSUS, the native of Bossier City, Louisiana is expected to fill a wide variety of roles on the mound for Edmonton.
“Andrew’s in a starting role for LSUS,” said Blundell of Lowe. “He’s pitched in big games his whole life, and he’s been in programs that value winning and playing the game the right way. Every team he’s been on has had a chance to do something special. For us, those are qualities that we’re obviously interested in and something we’ve looked for in all the players we’ve recruited this year.
“He’s got a ton of big-game potential, and it provides us with a ton of confidence as a coaching staff to know we have that at our disposal.”
Both Owens, 22, and Guilbeau, 24, are seniors at LSUS.
Owens, a native of Pearland, Texas, is 6-3 through his career with the Pilots with two saves and 76 strikeouts. The 6’1 pitcher is someone that Blundell expects will quickly become part of the Prospects nucleus on the mound.
“It’s exciting to have a guy like (Brendan) on our pitching staff,” said Blundell. “Brendan is one of LSUS’ go-to guys out of the bullpen. He’s got great numbers this year. His priorities are straight, he’s in a really good program that has World Series aspirations. He’s confident in himself, he wants to compete, and he wants to help the team win. It’s exciting to have a guy like that on our pitching staff. We know he’ll be a big part of our team.”
Guilbeau is the lone returning player from this week’s announcement.
“Beaux had a pretty good year last season and played a couple of different spots for us,” said Blundell of the multi-talented player. “It was an easy phone call to try and recruit him back this year and we’re fortunate to have him in the lineup (for 2019). He brings a versatile element; he’s a switch hitter, he’s got a little pop, and he can play a few different positions. He gives a quality effort every time his number is up, and he plays the game properly; that’s important in this league. We’ll look to him to be a leader for us this season.”
Now that the roster is nearly set, attention begins to turn towards spring training and the May 25th home opener against the Lethbridge Bulls.
“Players will usually start to arrive in the 3rd week of May, and we should have most of our roster here for the home opener.” commented the head coach. “We’ll probably have a few come up late just because of their season’s length, but’s a good problem to have if your recruits are going far in their playoffs. We feel we’ve built for depth, and it allows guys to get opportunities early in the year. Every day is a tryout, but we’re making lineup decisions based on what’s needed to win a ballgame.”
“(Lethbridge) will be good,” continued Blundell. “I’ve got a lot of respect for the guys down there, and I think we’ll be ready to go for the first weekend. We’ll have most of our players up here by that point, and we feel we’ll have some systems implemented by then that we can take into our first weekend of action.”
Only 36 days remain until the Prospects officially kick off their season at RE/MAX Field, with single-game tickets now available at tickets.edmontonprospects.ca,
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