Otters sign Wright, Rowland, and Calabrese; Draft Pruett and Maselli


The Evansville Otters have signed right-handed pitchers Taylor Wright and Matt Rowland and catcher Rob Calabrese, and draft pitcher Tanner Pruett and infielder Anthony Maselli out of the Frontier League tryout camp and draft for the 2019 season.

Wright is from Berwyn, Pa. and joins the Otters for his first stint in professional baseball.

“Wright was recommended from a trusted Atlantic League pitching coach,” said Otters manager Andy McCauley. “He threw very well at their open tryout. I’ll be interested to see him throw.”

“I’m thrilled to be in camp and incredibly grateful for the Otters giving me a chance in professional baseball,” said Wright.

“I’ve missed being a part of a baseball team and excited to get back into the clubhouse.”

Wright played collegiately at Brown University, where he posted a 5.80 ERA with 67 strikeouts, 4-9 record, and 56 appearances in 113.1 innings pitched.

“I’m going to go out there and compete, but I’m going to enjoy every moment being back on the field,” said Wright.

Rowland, a Marietta, Ga. native, joins the Otters after a stint in the Atlanta Braves organization. Rowland was drafted by the Braves in the 11th round of the 2016 MLB June Draft out of Pope High School.

“I heard about Evansville from my roommate with the Braves organization, Jackson Pokorney,” said Rowland. “He said I’m going to love it in Evansville. The town really backs up the Otters.”

Pokorney was drafted by the Braves in the 29th round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft out of Evansville’s Mater Dei High School.

“Rowland was recommended by a trusted organizational scout who wanted to make sure he got with a good pitching coach like Max (Peterson),” said McCauley.

“I’m excited to come to Evansville and play for the Otters organization,” said Rowland. “It’s a nice change of culture and I’m excited to see what the season has in store.”

In 2018 with the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League, Rowland was 1-4 with a 3.83 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 13 starts and a total of 54.0 innings pitched.

“He had quality numbers with the Braves organization and should figure in highly on the staff,” said McCauley.

“My approach on the mound is to mix it up with heat, off-speed and movement to set up batters,” said Rowland. “I pitch to contact to put the ball in play toward the defense behind me.”

Calabrese, a Staten Island, N.Y. native, joins the Otters for the 2019 season after spending two years in the San Francisco Giants organization. In 2017, he played with the Salem Keizer Volcanoes in the Northwest League and with the Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League in 2018.

“Calabrese played with David (Cronin) at the University of Illinois-Chicago and is represented by an agent I’ve worked with for some time,” said McCauley.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to play,” said Calabrese. “I love playing this game and I look forward go out there with my teammates.”

Last year with the GreenJackets, Calabrese had a .193 batting average with five home runs, 21 RBI’s, 24 runs, and 38 hits in 67 games.

“He should be a quality bat in our lineup and work well with our pitchers with his organizational experience.”

“Offensively, I try to keep it simple, be a gap-to-gap hitter with some power,” said Calabrese.

“I’ve always believed pitching and defense wins championships, so I really pride myself on my defense. I feel it’s my job as a catcher to be a leader out there and help make my pitchers and teammates better.”

The catcher was drafted in the 10th round by the Giants in the 2017 MLB Draft out of the University of Illinois-Chicago.

The Evansville Otters made two selections out of the 2019 Frontier League Draft, selecting infielder Anthony Maselli and left-handed pitcher Tanner Pruett.

Maselli was selected by the Otters with the eighth overall pick in the league draft.