EDMONTON, AB – While the Edmonton Prospects have been hard at work recruiting new players for the upcoming WCBL season, a pair of names have been confirmed to be returning to the organization in 2019.
On Thursday, Prospects head coach Jordan Blundell confirmed that both Jake MacDonald (C/OF) and Taran Oulton (LHP) will be rejoining the Prospects next season.
“To get these two guys locked up (was) important for us,” said Blundell on his returning duo. “You want to have guys you trust, and guys who understand the process in the way we do things. It’s important to have these kinds of guys around to help teach the new players how we do things. Both guys (MacDonald and Oulton) are really good fits in that sense.”
Both Oulton and MacDonald return after impressive 2018 campaigns with the Prospects, a season which saw the organization reach the Western Finals before falling to the eventual WCBL champion Medicine Hat Mavericks.
Oulton, 23, returns to Edmonton for his third season with the team. The pitcher has been impressive in his previous two campaigns with the Prospects, compiling a 7-3 record in the regular season. The LHP had an outstanding season with William Woods University last year, recording a 9-4 record along with a sparkling 2.31 ERA.
“(Taran’s) a versatile pitcher; he’s had a lot of success at both William Woods College and for us on the mound. He led his team in innings pitched last season, and we expect him to be a big part of our pitching staff. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to help out club achieve its goals.”
MacDonald, 21, returns for his second season with the Prospects after a successful rookie campaign last summer. In 24 games with the organization last season, MacDonald boasted a .222 batting average with 6 RBI. This offseason, MacDonald committed to Texas A&M University Texarkana, which fielded a 35 win program last season. This year, the team is looking to take part in the College World Series.
“Jake’s a born leader. He’s got a great attitude and is a really important guy in the clubhouse. It’s important to have guys that you’re excited to see every day, and (Jake’s) one of those guys. He’ll split time at both OF and catcher; he’s versatile enough to be able to handle both positions at this level. The fact he can play a couple of different spots gives us a ton of flexibility and allows us to make decisions mid-game to switch things up.”
Despite MacDonald and Oulton’s return, the Prospects will look vastly different from the team that reached the Westen Conference Finals last season. However, the organization’s expectations haven’t changed, said Blundell.
“The expectation is to make the playoffs. There’s going to be ups-and-downs, and we need to manage those to put ourselves in the best position to compete night in, night out. We want to be as successful as we can in the regular season, but the goal is to qualify for the playoffs. (Obviously) the ultimate goal is to be the last team standing; we’ve talked about that being an important part of what we’re doing here, and (the players) are excited about that.”
“You only have a few years to play baseball, and we have a window here to try and do something special. If we’re able to be that last team standing, that’s going to be something special for the city of Edmonton. For me, the City of Champions is what Edmonton is and that’s not just in sports. There are champions here in every facet of life in this community, and we want to be a part of that.”
Prospects fans can first see Oulton and MacDonald back in Prospects silks on May 25th at the onset of WCBL Spring Training.
- Tickets for the WCBL All-Star Game on July 7th in Edmonton are now available through the WCBL website.
- The Prospects are currently promoting their Fireworks Pack and “Bring Your Dad” Pack tickets, now available online.
- A reminder that the annual Edmonton Prospects Gala will be taking place on Saturday, February 16th at Fort Edmonton Park. Buck Martinez, John Short and Kent Morrison are all confirmed to attend this year’s event.
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