Birds Add Another Impact Arm, Trade For RailCats' Steele
PHOTO: GARY SOUTHSHORE RAILCATS
The Sioux Falls Canaries have picked up another key piece to their 2019 starting rotation. The Birds acquired right-hander Keaton Steele from the Gary SouthShore RailCats for future considerations, the team announced Wednesday.
"We expect great things from Keaton," Canaries manager Mike Meyer said. "He can't wait to get going."
2019 will be Steele's second season in the American Association. He posted a solid 3.33 ERA last season with the RailCats, helping anchor a pitching staff that ranked second in the American Association.
Steele started 2018 as a reliever, but moved into the RailCats' rotation in late July. Steele's production didn't waver when he was called into the rotation. In 10 starts, he posted a 3.33 ERA over 51.1 innings pitched.
Meyer said Steele's durability is one of the righty's best assets, as well as his low walk rate (under three batters per nine innings last year).
"If you're walking four or five guys per nine, then one bloop hit could cost you the game," Meyer said. "We want to have pitchers that are pounding the zone, so that our infield can do their thing."
With the acquisition of Steele, the Canaries' rotation is beginning to take shape. Alex Boshers and Ryan Flores, acquired in trades with Winnipeg and Sioux City respectively, are expected to join free-agent signee Chris Comito and Steele as starters to begin the year. Returner Mark Seyler will also contend for a rotation spot.
"We think that the pitchers we've got in place so far fit perfectly in our system," Meyer said, adding the team wants to add a couple more arms before the season starts.
Steele played four years of affiliated ball before his move to the Association. An 8th-round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins in 2014, the St. Joseph, Missouri native made it as high as Double-A Chattanooga in 2017.
Steele played college ball at the University of Missouri for two seasons after transferring in from Iowa Western Community College. Then a two-way player, he was named first-team All-SEC as a hitter his junior year in 2013.
The Sioux Falls Canaries open their 2018 season on May 16 on the road. Their home opener is scheduled for May 31, a Fireworks Night game against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at 7:05pm. For more information on season tickets, suites, group outings, and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries Front Office at (605) 336-6060, or visit the Canaries official website at www.sfcanaries.com.