EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed catcher Dakota Phillips, pitcher Anthony Arias, and infielders Tanner Wetrich and Jacob Adams to contract extensions for the 2020 season.
Phillips, a Nacogdoches, Texas native, joined the Otters after spending 2018 with the New York Bucks of the independent Empire Professional Baseball League. In 2019, Phillips batted .233 with 24 runs, 15 doubles, seven home runs, 32 RBIs and 21 walks in 64 games played.
“Last year was good for me, as it showed me what I needed to improve on this offseason to become the best hitter and player I can be,” Phillips said.
“At the plate, if Dakota can commit to a two-strike approach to cut down on the strikeouts, I think we’ll see more consistency from him offensively,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said.
Phillips split his playing time last season defensively at catcher and first base.
“Being able to play more than one position helps, but I look to stay healthy and be behind the plate more this season,” Phillips said.
“I think just getting a year under his belt will be big for Dakota, as he showed big improvements behind the plate and became very comfortable at first base,” McCauley said.
Phillips also said working with and catching big league players this offseason has helped him improve his approach to the game, going into this season with a better mental approach.
“I want to do whatever I can to help the team bring another championship back to Evansville,” Phillips said.
Phillips played collegiately at Tennessee Wesleyan for his senior season. With Tennessee Wesleyan, Phillips hit .353 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs. Phillips also had 17 doubles, 38 runs, and 29 walks.
Arias is from Morro Bay, Calif. and joined the Otters in June 2019. In 2019, Arias went 2-2 with a 4.56 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched and nine appearances.
“Last season, I really liked pitching with a solid defense behind me,” Arias said. “When you trust who is behind you, pitching is that much easier.”
Arias was a left-handed reliever out of the bullpen, while also making a few spot starts last season for the Otters.
“Anthony had some great appearances for us last season,” McCauley said. “His ability to start, bridge the gap, and face left-handed hitters is an asset to the staff.”
“I like starting or relieving each for different reasons, but I want to be an asset to the staff and team in any way that I can,” Arias said.
Arias played collegiately at Campbellsville University for his senior season. During his senior campaign, Arias was 6-3 with a 3.78 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 64.1 innings pitched and 12 starts.
Wetrich, from Lake St. Louis, Mo., signed with the Otters in July 2019. With the Otters, Wetrich batted .227 with 11 runs, seven RBIs, and nine walks in 22 games.
“Tanner is a solid defender at second, shortstop and third, and he will be vying for a starting job in the infield,” McCauley said.
“Last season, I took away that it’s just important to stay focused every day,” Wetrich said. “Even on the days when you don’t feel great, you still have to be focused and get the job done.”
Before signing with the Otters, Wetrich also spent time in 2019 with the River City Rascals of the Frontier League. With the Rascals, Wetrich batted .357 with five hits, two runs, an RBI and had a .471 on-base percentage in six games.
“Tanner had some big hits for us last season but will look for more consistency at the plate this year,” McCauley said.“This season, I want to help put our team in a position to win every night and improve every day in whatever way that might be,” Wetrich said.
Wetrich played two seasons collegiately at the University of Iowa, where he batted .251 with 49 runs, 12 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 39 RBIs, 32 walks, and had a .359 on-base percentage in 87 games played.
Adams, a Conway, Ark. native, joined the Otters in June 2019. Adams saw limited time in 2019 with the Otters due to injury, appearing in four games.
“Jacob will be in the mix at the infield positions, and we look forward to seeing him healthy in Spring Training,” McCauley said.
“Watching the game last season after my injury made me want to enjoy every opportunity I get to play that much more,” Adams said.
Adams finished his senior season at the University of Mississippi before joining the Otters. During his senior season, Adams batted .222, 45 starts and 56 games played. He had 24 runs scored, 19 RBIs, a .365 on-base percentage, and 27 walks.
“Jacob is a tough, hard-nosed defender that has shown some pop at the plate,” McCauley said.
“I want to do whatever I can to help the team win games,” Adams said. “I’m looking forward to competing every day to be the best I can be.”
You won’t want to miss what’s new in 2020 at Bosse Field with the Evansville Otters, featuring some new Frontier League competition as part of the largest, independent professional league in North America!
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.