Friday, the PaddleHeads’ Baseball Operations team has announced the free agent signings of four new athletes set to join the PaddleHeads 2021 squad. Former UNC Tar Heel and member of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, dynamic outfielder Brandon Riley. San Diego State alum, and former member of the
Friday, the PaddleHeads’ Baseball Operations team has announced the free agent signings of four new athletes set to join the PaddleHeads 2021 squad. Former UNC Tar Heel and member of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, dynamic outfielder Brandon Riley. San Diego State alum, and former member of the Seattle Mariners farm, catcher Dean Nevarez. Former Pittsburgh Pirate and deceptive southpaw, Yeison Santos. Rounding out today’s acquisitions, right-handed pitcher, Kevin Hilton will bring his advanced arsenal and American Association experience to Missoula.
Brandon Riley | OF | 6-0, 175lb
As a high school athlete, Riley was a four-time all-conference performer and named first-team all-state as a senior after hitting .460. Ranked as the No. 11 outfielder and the No. 36 overall player in the state of North Carolina by Perfect Game. During his collegiate career at the University of North Carolina, Brandon Riley proved to be dynamic at the plate and in the field, posting a .992 fielding percentage, a batting average of .298, 142 RBI, 62 XBH, and 19 stolen bases across 181 appearances. Selected in the 18th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Riley played two MiLB season, reaching as high as full-season A with the Peoria Chiefs.
“Riley is a very athletic, dynamic player who will be a great addition to our outfield this summer.” said PaddleHeads’ Manager Michael Schlact. “He also brings a great approach to the plate and great speed. We are excited to watch him do his thing and help us win ballgames.”
Dean Nevarez | C/3B | 6-0, 220lb
Former SDSU Aztec, Dean Nevarez finished his three-year tour posting a batting average of .283, 80 RBI, and 19 homeruns across 141 games. Nevarez wreaked havoc on the Mountain West Conference, slugging .735 against their conference foes. Drafted in the 19th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners, Nevarez spent two season spanning three levels of the M’s farm system (Rk, A-, A).
“Nevarez is going to be a solid defender and a great all-around catcher for us, we couldn’t be happier to have him this summer.” said Schlact. “He’s going to be the perfect addition to complement our pitching staff and hold runners at bay. We love the offensive minded approach he brings at the plate, and we look forward to him creating - and stopping runs for us in 2021.”
Yeison Santos | LHP | 6-2, 170lb
Native of Bonao, Dominican Republic, 20-year-old southpaw, Yeison Santos was signed as an international free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017. Santos made his DSL debut in 2018 (as a 17-year-old), where he posted a 5-0 record, 2.06 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.206 across 17 contests and 43.2 innings pitched.
“Santos is a young and very deceptive lefty that we’re excited about. While he won’t wow you with the velocity, he will certainly make hitters uneasy up there with his different arm angles, competitiveness, and his ability to change speeds.” said Schlact.
Kevin Hilton | RHP | 6-2, 180lb
At California State University, San Marcos, Kevin Hilton spent three seasons as a Cougar, closing out his campaign with a 4-4 season where he posted a 3.56 ERA and 48 strikeouts. In 2017, Hilton made the move to professional baseball, joining the Texas AirHogs of the American Association. Facing some of the toughest competition in independent baseball, Hilton is bringing invaluable experience of 223 IP across 42 games, to Missoula.
“Kevin comes to us from the American Association where he faced off against some of the best professional competition there is.” said PaddleHeads Manager Michael Schlact. “He brings an advanced arsenal to the mound and has lots of weapons to make every batter he faces uncomfortable. We’re glad he’s a part of our rotation.”
As the PaddleHeads’ roster continues to take shape, the “Adopt-a-PaddleHead” host family program is in need of area families who are interested in potentially housing a player(s) or field staff member for the upcoming 2021 season that begins May 22.
Interested families are encouraged to contact the Missoula PaddleHeads at (406) 543-3300 with any questions – and can apply to the Adopt-a-PaddleHead program via the link below, by visiting the PaddleHeads Post (140 N. Higgins), or by emailing [email protected].
Opening Day of the PaddleHeads’ 48-game home slate is tabbed for May 22, with the first month of games set at 50% capacity, and a limited number of season tickets available, fans are encouraged to act fast and purchase tickets online in advance, to secure their desired seating locations. Tickets are available now online at http://bit.ly/GETTIX21 or by visiting the PaddleHeads Post (140 N Higgins – 406.543.3300).
Follow the PaddleHeads on their social media platforms or at www.gopaddleheads.com to stay up to date on the latest happenings around the franchise.