Jackfish Sign Veteran Catcher Blanke
Welland, Ontario - Welland Jackfish pitchers will have a big target behind the plate this summer, a catcher with an even bigger professional baseball resume.
The Jackfish have signed veteran Mike Blanke, a six-foot-four backstopper with nine years of affiliated pro and independent league experience.
The 32-year-old from Granby, Que., who was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2010, played five seasons in the White Sox system, rising to the Double-A level. He spent the summer of 2013 as the primary catcher with the Birmingham Barons, winning a Southern League championship alongside current Toronto Blue Jays leadoff hitter Marcus Semien while handling current Oakland A’s ace Chris Bassitt.
The right-handed hitting Blanke had seven home runs and 43 RBIs in 332 at-bats in that Double-A Southern League championship season.
“We are excited to have a player with Mike’s experience handling our staff,” said Jackfish GM Jason McKay. “His presence alone in our lineup and in our dugout will make a huge impact.”
In six seasons in the affiliated minor leagues, Blanke hit .254 with 33 home runs in 1,323 at-bats. He had a career-high 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in 2012 with the High-A Winston-Salem Dash, where he was also the primary catcher coming through the system alongside Semien and Bassitt.
Blanke also has four-plus years experience in independent minor pro baseball.
The Welland Jackfish are a member of Canada’s top baseball league, the Intercounty Baseball League. The 100-year old summer league is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the world, with the league established in 1919, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. For more information, visit www.wellandjackfish.com or follow the Jackfish on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @wellandjackfish.