NEW BRITAIN - With the Atlantic League season fast approaching, the New Britain Bees added two more players to their growing roster.
Catcher James Skelton and outfielder Ozney Guillen were announced as the team’s newest signings Tuesday afternoon. Skelton has been New Britain’s primary catcher for the last two seasons. Guillen is the son of former Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.
“Only one week remains until players report for spring training and we’re excited for how the roster is looking,” Bees general manager Brad Smith said in a statement. “James has been one of the better catchers in the Atlantic League the past few years and will be a very important part of the team in working with our veteran pitching staff. Ozney adds some versatility to the club and has proven he can be an asset in this league.”
Skelton is no stranger to New Britain, as he returns for his third season with the Bees. It will be his sixth in the Atlantic League and 15th in professional baseball. Skelton tallied a .255 batting average with 14 home runs, 33 RBI, 69 runs scored, 17 stolen bases and a .408 on-base percentage in 117 games for the Bees last season. He also tied the all-time Atlantic League single-season record for walks with 101 last year.
The 32-year-old was initially drafted in the 14th round of the 2004 MLB amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers. After spending five seasons in Detroit’s organization he bounced around to the Reds and Nationals farm systems, reaching as high as the Triple-A level. Skelton began playing in the Atlantic League in 2013, where he has since played for the Somerset Patriots, Lancaster Barnstormers, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and the Bees.
Skelton has totaled a .258 batting average, 59 home runs, 405 RBI, 550 runs scored, 145 stolen bases and a .390 on-base percentage in 1,080 career minor league games.
Guillen is a newcomer to New Britain, but it his second in the Atlantic League having played for the Bridgeport Bluefish last year. In 86 games with the Bluefish, he hit .253 with two home runs, 29 RBI and 30 runs scored.
Guillen was drafted by his father’s club in the 22nd round of the 2010 draft. With little success, Guillen transitioned to the Frontier League, where he played for the Normal CornBelters in 2014. He then moved on to the Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association in 2016 before signing with Bridgeport.
Guillen, 26, has a career .241 average, 16 home runs, 127 RBI, 132 runs scored and 32 stolen bases in 233 career games.