American Association 2021 Mid-Season Report: Gary SouthShore Railcats
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier looks at the first half of the season for the Gary SouthShore Railcats, looking at top players, areas to improve, and where this team is likely to finish.
Gary SouthShore Railcats Reach Midway Point
Record: 28-21 (2, 4) (Place in Division in parenthesis, followed by record overall)
(Overall ranking in American Association listed in parenthesis)
Average: .249 (11)
Homeruns: 23 (12)
Runs: 226 (11)
Stolen Bases: 51 (6)
On-Base Percentage: .348 (9)
Slugging Percentage: .357 (11)
ERA: 4.38 (2)
Strikeouts: 441 (4)
all4Opponent Batting Average: .268 (8)
Saves: 8 (11)
Fielding Percentage: .975 (T-9)
Errors: 46 (11)
First Half Recap
The RailCats were the team proving everyone wrong early on. With renovations to their stadium, including moving in the outfield fence, Gary found a way to win early on, and they were in the top three in the division through early June. However, a rough patch saw the team drop nine of 12 games and that suddenly has Gary fighting to get out a last place.
The pitching has been very good for the RailCats. This group has been so deep that the loss of Noah Clenney and Gregori Vasquez has hardly caused a blip for Gary. They are getting outstanding performances out of a group that is committed to doing whatever it takes to help this team win.
However, as good as the pitching has been, the offense has been anemic to say the least. We don’t expect many homers out of the RailCats, but this team scrapes out runs and usually is in the middle of the pack, but not this season. With an inability to get on base and no real source of power, even in doubles and triples, the RailCats simply cannot produce runs. Even the moving in of the outfield fence has had a minimal effect on the success of this offense.
Cole Cook has been spectacular. He has been used in a variety of roles, including both starting and closing, but it looks like he will stay in the starting rotation for now. Cook has allowed six runs in his last 13.2 innings pitched as a starter and has given up nine total runs over his last 24.2 innings pitched. This young man is the real deal, and it would not be surprising to see an affiliate club come knocking.
Jake Alkire is a guy who had some American Association experience entering the season, but he has not lived up to expectations. Alkire has looked good into of his last three starts, allowing a single run in both of those outings, but that was sandwiched around an outing where he gave up 11 runs in six innings. It has been the inconsistency that has been a surprise.
What They Need
Gary needs some offense right now. They have three or four guys who are hitting quite well, but the rest of the group is not producing. It is not necessarily that they need someone to hit 10 homers, but three players hitting .285 with the potential for 25 doubles is necessary.
What to Expect
The window for the RailCats to be a contender in this division is over. Milwaukee, Chicago, and Fargo are too good and Kane County makes this a very tough top four. That leaves them battling Winnipeg to stay out of last and, sadly, it looks like a race they will lose.
By Robert Pannier