Gary Southshore RailCats Report: April Update
The Gary Southshore RailCats spent the last month tweaking their battery combination. Out went their two primary catchers from last season, and in came a former Miami Marlins prospect looking to make a name for himself in the American Association. The club also added some quality pitching to their staff, readying themselves for the 2015 season. Added into the mix were some hungry, young outfielders who are looking to make a name for themselves this season.
With a long history of winning and one of the best managers in the league calling the shots, there is no doubt the moves will have a positive impact on the team.
On March 9, C Michael Vaughn was signed by the RailCats. This would be a key move because one day later Craig Maddox was traded to Southern Maryland of the Atlantic League and on March 31 the club dealt Ryan Babineau to Bridgeport of the same league. Vaughn will get a serious shot to be the everyday catcher for the team. He hit .222 in 57 games for Greys in the Frontier League last season. He is an excellent defensive catcher, who made just four errors last season while throwing out 31 percent of base stealers.
On March 25, RHP Yusuke Inoue was inked to a deal. Yusuke pitched in just three games last season for Brownsville of the United League, his first in professional baseball. He was 0-2 in three starts with a 9.26 ERA, allowing 30 total base runners in 11.2 innings pitched.
On the same day that Babineau was dealt the club re-signed OF Adam Taylor. Taylor split time between Florence of the Frontier League and Gary last season. It was also his first professional season. Between the two he hit .259 with 4 home runs and 23 RBI. He performed better in Florence (.282 batting average vs. 180 in Gary), but is a solid outfielder who covers a lot of ground. Taylor also stole 10 bases last season.
On April 2, RHP Kagen Hopkins was traded to Schaumburg of the Frontier League in exchange for OF Nick Howell. Howell is a 23-year-old rookie, who last season played at Trevecca Nazarene University. The outfielder had an outstanding season, hitting .391 in 57 games with 7 home runs and 49 RBI. He led all of Division II baseball in triples with 14.
On April 6, OF Zachary Zdanowicz joined the RailCats. Last season he played for Fort Worth of the United League, where he hit .333 in 11 games with 5 RBI. He also posted an impressive .529 on-base percentage.
April 9 saw the RailCats trade RHP Steven Bougher to Lake Erie of the Frontier League in exchange for RHP Zac Treece and LHP Andy Roberts. The right-hander had an outstanding season in 2014, posting a 7-3 record and a 2.97 ERA in 31 appearances, 11 of them starts. In 97 innings pitched Treece allowed just 73 hits and 30 walks while striking out 88. He has also shown in the past that he has the makeup and ability to close out games.
Roberts made seven appearances at Lake Erie last season, five of which were starts. He was 2-2 with a 4.97 ERA.
By Robert Pannier