Fan Favorite Dean Returns to Wichita
WICHITA, Kans. - The Wichita Wingnuts brought a familiar face back into the fold on Wednesday, signing versatile Brent Dean for the 2018 season.
Dean returns to Wichita after spending one season in Lincoln, where he helped the Saltdogs to a Central Division championship. Primarily serving as the backup catcher to All-Star Dashenko Ricardo, Dean hit .225 with a career-high five home runs and 19 RBI over 55 games, also tying his career-best by drawing 14 walks. The 31-year old was at his best in the playoffs, starting three of the four division series games and going 3-for-4 in Lincoln's Game Two victory over the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
"I'm looking forward to reuniting with Brent this year," Wingnuts manager Brent Clevlen said. "He's very athletic and bring versatility to our team. In addition to his experience behind the plate, we think Brent has the ability to see a lot of time at one of our corner outfield spots."
Prior to his 2017 campaign in Lincoln, Dean played for the Wingnuts from 2014-2016. Over the course of those three seasons, the Torrance, Calif., native was a part of three division-winning clubs, including the 2014 American Association championship team. All told, Dean played in 155 games for the Wingnuts, connecting for seven home runs and 63 RBI while hitting .275.
Dean arrived late in the 2014 season, boosting Wichita with a .317 batting average and three home runs in just 21 games. He returned the following year to back up recent signee John Nester, playing in 43 games behind the plate and another 12 in the outfield, while posting a solid .281 average. In 2016, the right-handed hitter saw action in 65 more games, again splitting time at catcher and in left field. Dean hit .258 that season with a career-best 31 RBI and 13 steals.
Dean has established himself as one of the best base stealing catchers in the Independent ranks over the last four seasons, stealing 35 bases while being caught only eight times.
The former UCLA Bruin's professional career began in the American Association in 2009 with a six-game stint as a member of the Sioux City Explorers. After being signed by the Milwaukee Brewers the following year, Dean spent four campaigns in the Brewers minor league system, reaching High-A Brevard County in both 2011 and 2013.
For his career, Dean is a .253 hitter with 19 home runs and 139 RBI over 320 professional games.
Dean's signing brings the number of Wingnuts players under contract for the 2018 season up to 11. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which opens on May 6.
The 11th season of Wingnuts baseball and the club's pursuit of an eighth consecutive division title kicks off with a three-game home series against the Kansas City T-Bones, beginning on Friday, May 18. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.
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American Association Stories from February 28, 2018
- Two-Time Champion, League Home Run and RBI King Returns - Winnipeg Goldeyes
- Fan Favorite Dean Returns to Wichita - Wichita Wingnuts
- The Inside Pitch Returns Tonight - Winnipeg Goldeyes
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