Chase Simpson Returns to Cleburne Railroaders
CLEBURNE, Texas (Jan. 31, 2019) – The Cleburne Railroaders announced Thursday the signing of infielder Chase Simpson.
Simpson had a productive and well-traveled 2018 season, splitting it between Cleburne, the Lincoln Saltdogs, and the Wichita Wingnuts. In 99 total games, Simpson hit .273 with 22 doubles, 13 home runs and 47 RBI. The switch-hitter led the American Association with 75 walks, 13 more than the next closest player, finishing the year with a .401 on-base percentage. Simpson ended the season as one of just eight players in the league to post a plus-20 weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA), a measure of how many runs a hitter contributes compared to a league-average player.
“Chase is the kind of player who makes every team a little bit better,” manager Brent Clevlen said. “As a switch-hitter, he brings balance to the lineup with his ability to hit in any of the top six spots. Defensively, he’s also shown some versatility that allows us to be flexible with lineups.”
The 26-year old began the year with Lincoln and got off to a blistering start, hitting .413 through the first two weeks of the season. On July 6, he was traded to Cleburne in exchange for right-handed pitcher Cortland Cox, ultimately playing in 26 games with the Railroaders. Simpson hit .284 with two home runs while donning the orange and navy, walking 24 times to 23 strikeouts.
Wichita acquired Simpson from Cleburne on August 1 in exchange for outfielder Hunter Clanin and a player to be named later, which would turn out to be Simpson himself. Simpson was involved in several interesting plays in his 32 games with the Wingnuts, starting on August 4 against the Gary SouthShore RailCats when he hit for the cycle. Then on August 8 against the Sioux City Explorers, he applied the finishing tag on a 4-6-3-5 triple play, before wrapping up his busy month on August 21 with a walk-off home run against the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Simpson played collegiately for Weatherford College and the University of Oklahoma before finishing his career with Wichita State University in 2014, hitting .258 with 14 doubles, six home runs and 41 RBI as a junior. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 14th round of the MLB Draft, and spent parts of four seasons in the Pirates minor league system. Simpson reached Double-A Altoona in 2017, but was released and joined the independent ranks with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League. For his career, Simpson is a .242 hitter with 49 home runs and 228 runs driven in.
Simpson’s signing gives the Railroaders a total of 12 players under contract for the 2019 season.
By Denning Gerig