The Evansville Otters have signed outfielder Elijah MacNamee, utility Keith Grieshaber, and pitcher Drew Beyer to contract extensions for the 2020 season.
MacNamee, from Cypress, Texas, batted .309 in 38 games played, scoring 19 runs, recording 17 RBIs, and walking 21 times in 2019 with the Otters.
“Elijah plays hard, and he came up with some big hits for us as a rookie,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “I think our fans pull for guys like that.”
MacNamee joined the Otters following his senior season at Mississippi State. While with Mississippi State, MacNamee was a member of two College World Series appearances in 2018-19, and a member of a Super Regional appearance in 2017.
“With half a year under his belt, I think getting into the routine right away will be big for Elijah,” McCauley said. “He showed an advanced approach at the plate, and I think he has a good shot to get a lot of affiliated interests.”
In his collegiate career at Mississippi State, MacNamee batted .287 with 113 runs, 37 doubles, 17 home runs, 116 RBIs, and 60 walks in 170 games played and 154 games started. He also had a career .441 slugging percentage and a .367 on-base percentage.
Grieshaber, a Chesterfield, Mo. native, batted .291 with 48 runs, 20 doubles, 42 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 2019 with the Otters.
“Keith did a great job getting on base and running the bases for us last year, and we’re hoping for more of the same this year,” McCauley said. “He can set the table for us and be a disruptive force on the bases.”
“Last season was a great experience for me, playing a full season again and finding daily routines were very important,” Grieshaber said.
“I improved in all areas of my game, but I learned to play with a relaxed confidence last season.”
After starting with the River City Rascals during Spring Training last year, Grieshaber was signed by the Otters heading into the regular season opener. Grieshaber split time in the infield and outfield.
“I’m a big proponent of multi-sport athletes and Keith’s athleticism is evidence of why,” McCauley said. “His great footwork helps him in a lot of baseball actions, and his versatility will help us stay fresh because he can play at a lot of different positions.”
“I have fully embraced moving positions throughout my career,” Grieshaber said. “It is something not many can do anymore, so I’m thankful that I am versatile.”
“Anywhere that helps us win is where I want to be.”
Grieshaber was drafted by the Angels in the 16th round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft from Jefferson College. In 2017 with the Angels organization, Grieshaber hit a combined .285 batting average, four home runs, 36 RBIs, 42 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases.
Beyer is from Sarasota, Fla. and signed with the Otters in June 2019. With the Otters, Beyer went 3-3 with a 2.83 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched and 26 appearances.
“We have great confidence in Drew in any situation, and his biggest asset is his command and ability to induce weak contact,” McCauley said. “He is aggressive by pounding the zone with all his pitches.”
“Last season, I took away to really focus on constantly getting better and learning from each individual outing,” Beyer said. “You really have to go out there every single game and compete.”
Beyer brought affiliated baseball experience after parts of two seasons with the Detroit Tigers organization. Beyer played with the Tigers’ Gulf Coast League squad and with the Connecticut Tigers most recently. Overall, Beyer was 2-0 in eight appearances with a 3.86 ERA and 7 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched.
“He’s a great teammate, and with his affiliated experience and spending last season with us, I think he’ll be a huge factor in our bullpen,” McCauley said.
“The main thing I’m going to share with some of my new teammates is to take it all one day at a time and give every outing 100 percent,” Beyer said.
“If you do that day in and day out, suddenly it will be August, and you can look back at a nice body of work that you’ve put together. Then you can get ready to make a push down the stretch like we did last year.”
Evansville will host Opening Night from Bosse Field against the Gateway Grizzlies May 15 at 6:35 p.m. Preseason exhibitions will begin May 2 for the Otters. The annual Education Day games will be May 6 and May 13 at 10 a.m.