Evansville Otters Bring Back Vail; Sign Three Others

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed right-handed pitcher Tyler Vail.

Vail, an Easton, Pa. native, was signed by the Otters before the 2015 season after spending the previous five years in the Oakland Athletics’ organization.

In two seasons with the Otters (2015-16), Vail is 15-8 with a 4.06 ERA in 35 appearances. He has pitched 206 innings while striking out 160 batters.

Last year, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Vail before the start of the season and he split time between Hillsboro and Missoula, where he made 14 total starts.

“We are looking forward to having Tyler back with us this season,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “I felt he improved in 2016 and was set for a great year when his contract was purchased by the Diamondbacks.

“He brings a wealth of experience and energy to our staff and he should be able to assist (pitching coach) Max (Peterson) in helping our younger pitchers.”

In 2016, Vail was vital in helping the Otters return to the Frontier League playoffs. He started 17 games and finished 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA.

Vail was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft by the Athletics and he won 13 games during his stint in Oakland’s organization. He was a Frontier League All-Star in 2016, pitching an inning for the West Division.

The Otters made three additional moves; signing right-handed pitchers Mitchell Aker and Brian Bass along with shortstop Austin Homan.

An Arlington, Va. native, Aker played for the College of William & Mary (2013-16) and he spent last season pitching in the Diamondbacks’ organization. He made nine starts and appeared in 15 games as he split time between Jackson, Kane County, Hillsboro and Missoula.

Bass, an Aliso Viejo, Calif. native, is a product of Faulkner University and he spent 2015-16 in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization, where he went 4-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 55 games.

Homan played two seasons for Texas A&M University in 2016-17 after beginning his college career at San Jacinto College. With the Aggies, Homan hit .277 and finished with 17 doubles and 54 RBIs.