Blake Shane Gailen (born March 27, 1985) is an Israeli-American left-handed professional baseball outfielder in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He also plays for the Israel National Baseball Team.
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Born: March 27, 1985|
Verdugo Hills, California
In high school, Gailen was first-team All-West Valley League in California in his junior and senior seasons. He played baseball for Glendale Community College, where he was All-Western State Conference as a freshman and All-Southern California Team as a sophomore. He played summer ball for the Fayetteville SwampDogs, and was a Coastal Plain League All Star during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
In 2011 Gailen won the American Association batting title with a .406 batting average, a new league record, while playing for the Lincoln Saltdogs. In 2012, he was named the Atlantic League Most Valuable Player as well as Baseball America's Independent League Player of the Year, and starting All Star in left field, after batting .338 (winning his second consecutive league batting title) with 22 home runs, 89 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases for the Lancaster Barnstormers. In 2014, he was named to the Atlantic League's All-Star team.
He has played in AA for the Toronto Blue Jays organization in 2011 and 2015, and in AAA for the Los Angeles Angels organization in 2013. Through 2018, Gailen had played 1,226 games over 12 seasons, and batted .306 with 167 home runs in aggregate. Gailen played for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic in March 2017, and in the Confederation of European Baseball 2019 European Baseball Championship - B-Pool in early July 2019, where he was named the MVP. He signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017. After finishing the season with the Tulsa Drillers, Gailen was brought back for spring training. He did not make the team out of spring training and played the season out with the Lancaster Barnstormers. In October 2018, he became a dual Israeli citizen.
Gailen again signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 2019. Out of spring training, he was assigned to the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Gailen was born in Verdugo Hills, California, to Scott and Charlene ("Char") Gailen, and grew up in West Hills, California. He has an older sister named Jenni. Gailen is Jewish. He and major league infielder Josh Satin—also a member of the Israeli national baseball team—have been friends since they were children, and Gailen attended Satin's bar mitzvah. Asked about his height, Gailen said: "I like to say, 5-8¾."
He played baseball in high school for El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, California, where Gailen pitched (throwing a no-hitter as a senior, and going 19-4 his last two seasons) as well as played outfield and hit, graduating in 2003. He was first-team All-West Valley League in his junior and senior seasons. He went un-drafted after high school.
Gailen played baseball in college first for Glendale Community College (graduating in 2005), where he was All-Western State Conference as a freshman and All-Southern California Team as a sophomore. He played summer ball for the Fayetteville SwampDogs during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, both pitching and playing outfield, and was a Coastal Plain League All Star both seasons.
He then played for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels baseball team, where Gailen was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week on February 12, 2007, and graduated with a degree in Communications in 2007. He went un-drafted after college.
Gailen was signed in 2011 and 2015 by the Los Angeles Angels. He has also played in the Toronto Blue Jays organization (which signed him in 2013), the Los Angeles Dodgers organization (which signed him in 2017 and 2019), on independent league teams, and in Mexico and Venezuela.
Gailen began his professional career in 2007 with the minor league baseball independent team the Anderson Joes of the South Coast League, batting .368/.455/.526 in 42 games. On July 28, 2008, playing for the Wichita Wingnuts, he was named the American Association Batter of the Week.
In 2009, Gailen batted .355 with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League, and was the youngest batter in the top 10 in batting in the league. In 2010, he batted .387. (finishing 2nd in the league to Larry Bigbie in batting average)/.480 (3rd in the league)/.603 for Chico, and was a league All Star.
In 2011, he won the American Association batting title with a league-leading .406 batting average, a new league record, while playing for the Lincoln Saltdogs. He played center field and batted leadoff for the Saltdogs, and also led the league in on-base percentage (.479) and slugging percentage (.622).
Gailen was then signed to a minor league contract by the Los Angeles Angels in July 2011, and played for the AA Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League, replacing Mike Trout who had just been called up. In 29 games, playing right field primarily, he batted .208.
In 2012 Gailen was named the Atlantic League Most Valuable Player as well as Baseball America's Independent League Player of the Year, and starting All Star in left field, after batting .338 (winning his second consecutive league batting title, and setting a team record)/.415 (leading the league)/.534 with 22 home runs, 89 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases for the Lancaster Barnstormers.
In August 2013, he was signed to a minor league contract by the Toronto Blue Jays, as Gailen was leading the Atlantic League in doubles and walks while playing in 113 games for the Lancaster Barnstormers. He played in eight games for Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, batting .286. He then played in 46 games for the Venados de Mazatlan in the Mexican Pacific Winter League.
In 2014, playing again for the Lancaster Barnstormers, Gailen was named to the Atlantic League's All-Star team, and for the season batted .350/.460/.646 with 18 homers, 52 RBIs, and a 1.107 OPS. Manager Butch Hobson said: "This guy is one of the best, if not the best, players in the league." He also played 51 games for Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League, batting .271/.385/.537 with 11 home runs. He then played 22 games for Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan Winter League, and 19 games for the Venados de Mazatlan in the Mexican Pacific Winter League.
In 2015, he started the season again playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers, and in June after 44 games was again signed to a minor league contract by the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels assigned him to the AA Arkansas Travelers, and that month he was Player of the Month for the Travelers, for whom he played in 76 games during the season.
In 2017, Gailen began the season back with the Lancaster Barnstormers. In 54 games he batted .323/.408/.521, raising his career records with the Barnstormers to first all-time in home runs (72), runs scored (309), hits (524), and doubles (108), and tied for first in RBIs (273), while tied for second in steals (75 steals).
Gailen signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 25, 2017, and was assigned to the AA Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League. In 49 games for Tulsa, he hit .300/.369/.500. He was released by the organization on March 22, 2018.
On March 30, 2018, Gailen re-signed with the Lancaster Barnstormers. In 126 games he batted .282/.378/.511 and led the Atlantic League in home runs (28; one short of the franchise record) and RBIs (91), while coming in second in walks (72). He was named an All Star for the third time. His 99 career home runs in the Atlantic League are 10th-most in league history. He became a free agent following the 2018 season.
Gailen played for Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifier. After not playing in the first game, he was a late-inning defensive replacement in the second game, but did not bat. Gailen started the third game in center field, and hit a two-run home run in the 5th inning, while walking twice and scoring an additional run.
In October 2018 he became a dual Israeli citizen, partly to help Israel’s baseball team make the 2020 Olympics. He played for the team in the Confederation of European Baseball 2019 European Baseball Championship - B-Pool in early July 2019 in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, as it won all six of its games and advanced to the playoffs against Team Lithuania in the 2019 Playoff Series at the end of July 2019 for the last qualifying spot for the 2019 European Baseball Championship. He was named the MVP of the tournament, as he batted .571 (2nd in the tournament)/.654 (leading the tournament)/1.048 (2nd).
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