Evansville re-signs four, including two All-Stars
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The Evansville Otters have re-signed Dakota Phillips, Parker Brahms, Jake Polancic and Brody Tanksley to return to Evansville for the 2023 season.
Phillips, a fan-favorite catcher out of Nacogdoches, Texas, enters his fourth season with the Otters. The 2022 season was cut short for Phillips due to a hand injury sustained in July. Phillips was named the 2022 West Division starting catcher for the Frontier League All-Star Game but was unable to play due to the injury. But, his .313 batting average in 2022 was the best of Phillips' professional career. He has put together a .261 batting average across his three years with the Otters. In 178 games with Evansville, Phillips has acquired 39 doubles, 30 home runs and 114 RBI.
During his three seasons with Evansville, Phillips has split time at designated hitter, catcher and first base. Phillips has played for Evansville since the 2019 season but due to the cancellation of the 2020 Frontier League championship season (COVID-19), Phillips played with the Lightning Sloths of the Constellation Energy League in 2020. Phillips played collegiately at Tennessee Wesleyan for his senior season. With Tennessee Wesleyan, Phillips hit .353 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs.
Brahms, from Sacramento, California, returns to the Otters' pitching rotation after earning his shot at the next level last year. After starting the year with a 5-1 record and 2.55 ERA in his nine starts, Brahms' contract was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds. In that span, he had 63 strikeouts in his 60 full innings. He was named a Frontier League All-Star in 2022 but did not participate due to his call-up to the Reds organization. While with the Reds' Arizona Complex League team, Brahms played in seven games, mostly out of the bullpen. In his 16.2 innings with the Reds ACL squad, he allowed only five earned runs and struck out 22 batters.
Prior to joining the Otters, Brahms spent 2021 with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, signing as a free agent. He pitched for the rookie-level Pirates Black in the Florida Complex League and the Bradenton Marauders of the Low-A Southeast League. Brahms pitched collegiately for California State Sacramento, or Sacramento State, from 2017-2020. In college, he was 18-14 with a 3.15 ERA and 295 strikeouts. He made 52 starts in 58 appearances and pitched in 291.1 innings. Brahms was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 27th round of the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft, but decided to further his collegiate career. While at CSU Sacramento, Brahms earned All-WAC first-team honors in 2017 and 2018, while also receiving WAC Freshman of the Year accolades in 2017.
Polancic, a native of Langley, British Columbia, Canada, enters his second season with the Otters. He stood out as one of the Frontier League’s best relievers in 2022, allowing just 14 earned runs on 21 hits across his 37 appearances. In 48 complete innings, Polancic struck out 71 batters while walking only 20. His 2.63 ERA was one of the league’s best.
Before joining the Otters last year, Polancic played for the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association in 2021. Before 2021, Polancic spent four seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. The right-hander was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 11th round of the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft. Polancic’s career totals include 105 appearances, a 5.09 ERA, 155.2 innings pitched, and 178 strikeouts.
Tanksley, who hails from Mitchell, Ind., is in his second season with the Otters. Despite spending much of the year as a rotational catcher, Tanksley stepped up for Evansville in mid-August when both Otters catchers were out with injuries. Across the six-game span as the only available catcher, Tanksley had three multi-hit games and the game-winning RBI against Joliet on August 12.
Prior to the Otters, Tanksley played collegiately for Indiana University-Southeast, where he played five seasons for the NAIA school. In those five seasons, he batted .340 with 90 runs, 56 doubles, nine triples, 36 home runs, 179 RBIs, and a total of 249 hits. He played in 215 games and recorded 733 at-bats.
The 2023 season is right around the corner. For information on season tickets, call 812-435-8686. Group and single-game tickets will go on sale in the coming weeks.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.