Jordan Caillouet loves to play the game of baseball. He’s done so his entire life.
And there’s no letting up now — or anytime soon.
He said he’s content to continue to do so until the wheels fall off and his body doesn’t physically allow him to do so anymore — a ride he hopes someday carries him into the Major Leagues.
Caillouet, 25, is a professional baseball player for the Ottawa Champions — an Independent League team in the Canadian-American Association in the Can-Am Division.
This is Caillouet’s fifth professional season and his second with Ottawa. The graduate of Central Lafourche High School said he’s blessed to be able to compete and play the game he loves for a living. He added that life in independent baseball isn’t glamorous, but that it’s still baseball — the sport he’s always dreamed of playing at the highest levels.
“People don’t see all the hours put into being prepared for the season,” Caillouet said. “It definitely takes a big passion for the game to keep going. But I believe in following your dreams until you can’t anymore, so I’ll play as long as I can.”
For Caillouet, the journey to Canada was unexpected, but he said it’s been a blessing and one of the best stops of his career.
He was a standout player at Delgado, who started his professional journey in 2015, signing with the Las Vegas Train Robbers in the Pecos League — an Independent League with 8 teams. In the pros, Caillouet is a utility player who has spent time at multiple positions along the infield.
In 2016, Caillouet stayed in the Pecos League, playing for the same team, but in Topeka, as the team moved cities.
Caillouet had big success in his first two seasons, hitting .333 as a rookie with 11 home runs and 58 RBI, then .346 with 12 home runs and 51 RBI in 2016 as a second-year player.
In the Pecos League, there are just more than 60 games, so Caillouet was one of the better run-producing players in the entire league.
But it was time for a step up in class, which let Caillouet to the Salina Stockade in 2017 in the American Association.
With that team, he hit .214 in 95 games with 8 home runs, 32 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
That opportunity led to another with the Canadian-American Association and a spot on the Texas Air Hogs.
But that opportunity quickly lead him across the border when Texas traded him to Ottawa where he’s been ever since — each of the past two seasons.
Caillouet said the Canadian-American Association is a brutally competitive league — filled with guys who are hungry for shots at being picked up by a Major League farm system — the most competitive league he’s been in so far in his career.
“Everyone here is working to get picked up again,” Caillouet said. “So the fire is lit under everyone and winner matters here, rather than guys just worrying about their own individual numbers.”
So far, Caillouet has been able to handle the step up in rank.
Last year, he hit .254 for the Champions in 100 games. He popped 6 home runs and had 52 RBI.
So far this season, Caillouet has played 12 games and has hit .213 with a home run and 9 RBI. Earlier this season, he had arguably the best game of his career, going 4-for-4 with a home run, two singles and a double in a win over the New Jersey Jackals.
“It was kind of a blessing in disguise,” Caillouet said of the trade to Ottawa. “Canada is nice. It’s definitely a little bit different than being back home. The food is never the same, but the people here welcome us with open arms, so that’s always a plus.”
In the coming weeks, Caillouet said his goals are to continue to play as well as he can to try and be seen by the scouts who frequent the league.
But he said he’s enjoying his second home across the northern border, adding that the weather is so different from Louisiana heat. Caillouet said it’s in the 40s, adding that most of the season is spent being played in colder weather before it warms to the 90s later in the summer.
“The goal for me is always to get picked up to play affiliated ball,” Caillouet said. “But for me, I think you can always improve on every aspect of the game. So I’m not working on just one thing to make that happen. I’m just trying to get better every time I step out on the field.” •