The Moose Jaw Miller Express have landed seven Canadian players for the upcoming 2016 WMBL season. Heading to Moose Jaw this summer are position players Louis Boyd, Travis Ouelett and Shoma Sasaki, as well as pitchers Jesse Marks, Keegan Kwong, Mark Baughman, and Justin Beaumont.
“I feel it imperative to bring in as many quality Canadians as possible. It’s a Canadian league and we want to be able to afford those players the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of family and friends as often as we can,” coach Michael Hunt said on the importance of recruiting Canadian players. “Canada has been increasingly more influential on the international scene, and it’s evidenced by the amount of college players the provinces have been producing over the last two decades”.
1B Ouelett (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.), OF Sasaki (Delta, BC), RHP Kwong (Edmonton, Alta.) and Beaumont are all currently attending Douglas College.
“Travis Ouellet and Shoma Sasaki are both veterans of the WMBL, having played for Edmonton and Melville respectively in the past. Travis is a big, solid corner guy with some power, while Shoma is a prototypical lead-off man that will patrol centre,” said Hunt. “Keegan is a multi-positional guy that can catch and provide innings out of the pen. His versatility allows us to use him in a variety of ways and eases the pressure on our catchers during those long stretches in the schedule.”
SS Boyd (North Vancouver, BC) is currently attending the University of Arizona. In 43 games this season he has had 113 at-bats, he has five doubles, 17 RBIs, a .257 average, five stolen bases, and a .952 fielding percentage.
“Louis is a slick fielding, gap-to-gap hitter. He has actually been on a Miller roster before, in 2014, but a major concussion shut down his summer ball season before it ever started,” said Hunt
RHP Marks (London, Ont.) and is currently attending Thompson River University. This season with the WolfPack he appeared in seven games and started five of them, in 35.2 innings Marks has 11 strikeouts, nine walks, a 3.02ERA, and a 2-3 record.
“Jesse is a starting pitcher who had a great spring campaign. He will bolster the rotation and has proven this spring as a freshman that he can go deep into games, giving his team a chance to be successful,” commented Hunt.
LHP Baughman (Calgary, Alta.) played this season at Louisiana Tech. He appeared in six games and finished with a 1-0 record, in 5.2 innings he had three strikeouts, four walks, and a 3.18ERA.
“Baughman grew up in Texas, but was born in Calgary. The junior lefty will be a go to guy to eat up innings and bridges the gap between the starter and closer,” said Hunt.
LHP Beaumont (Winnipeg, Man.) and attended Williston State, who Hunt says “will contribute out of the bullpen and the Williston State freshman comes highly regarded as having tremendous, raw talent.”
The Miller Express open the 2016 Western Major Baseball League season Saturday, May 28th against the Swift Current Indians in their home opener presented by RBC Royal Bank.