SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — One of the Sioux Falls Canaries’ most dependable arms is heading back to the Birdcage in 2020. Keaton Steele has re-signed with the Canaries, the club announced Tuesday.
The hard-throwing right-hander is expected to move from the rotation to the bullpen in 2020. Birds manager Mike Meyer said Steele will compete for the closer role.
“He’s explosive,” Meyer said. “Looking at his domination in Gary in 2018, looking at his domination the first seven starts of last season for us, it wouldn’t shock me if he’s the league Reliever of the Year next year.”
Steele made 21 appearances (20 starts) for the Birds in 2019. He got out to a hot start, posting a 2.49 ERA and just 12 walks over his first seven outings. He finished the season with a 5.88 ERA.
The Missouri native wasn’t affected by the Birdcage’s notoriously hitter-friendly environment, posting a better ERA at home than on the road last season.
Steele made his American Association debut in 2018 with the Gary SouthShore RailCats. He started the year as a reliever, but moved into the RailCats’ rotation in late July. In 10 starts, Steele posted a 3.33 ERA over 51.1 innings pitched. The Canaries traded for him the following offseason.
The 28-year-old played four years of affiliated ball before his move to the Association. An eighth-round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins in 2014, Steele made it as high as Double-A Chattanooga in 2017.
Steele posted a 1.29 ERA in four appearances with the Lookouts that year. He owns a 3.73 career ERA in affiliated baseball.
Before going pro, 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 the only player in the country to lead his team in home runs, saves and wins in 2013.
The Sioux Falls Canaries open their 2020 season on May 19 at the Birdcage. Check out the Birds’ 2020 schedule here. For more information on season tickets, suites, group outings, and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries Front Office at (605) 336-6060, or visit www.sfcanaries.com.