Gary Southshore RailCats – 2019 American Association Mid-Season Report Card
In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier examines the first half of the 2019 American Association season for the Gary Southshore RailCats. This includes a recap of what has gone right and wrong for the team, as well providing the top pitcher and player to this point. Plus, a prognosis of what to expect in the remaining two months is included.
Gary Southshore RailCats – Mid-Season Report
(League ranking is included in parenthesis)
Record: 24-37 (6th in North, 11th in League)
Home Record: 12-17 (11)
Away Record: 12-20 (9)
Team Batting Average: .239 (11)
Team ERA: 4.76 (9)
Team Fielding Percentage: .973 (9)
Average: Thomas Walraven (.322)
Homeruns: Colin Willis (5)
RBI: Colin Willis (38)
Runs: Colin Willis (36)
Stolen Bases: Colin Willis (10)
ERA: Sandy Lugo (1.37)
Wins: Trevor Lubking (5)
Losses: Trevor Lubking (6)
Saves: Sandy Lugo (6)
Innings Pitched: Trevor Lubking (86.0)
Appearances: Felix Carvallo, Ryan Thurston (20)
This was going to be a tough division to compete in, and the RailCats have not been able to get rolling. They looked solid coming out of May, posting a 7-6 record and had all the makings of a Greg Tagert team. Played sound fundamental baseball and would take a month or so to gel before catching fire. That has not been the case.
Gary Southshore limped through June with an 11-17 record and the spiral has continued through July, going 6-14 in the first 20 games. They hit .235 in June and have a .247 average in July. Add to it a 6.55 ERA in July and a 4.38 in June and it is easy to see why this team is struggling.
What Went Wrong
Unfortunately, lots. As the season has gone on, the RailCats have struggled more. The starting staff is not giving five or six quality innings and the lineup has been non-existent for the most part. Even the fielding, a trademark of this team, has not been very good.
What Went Right
Every season, Tagert finds a group of rookies who make this team competitive, but no one player usually stands out. Not this year. Thomas Walraven has been awesome, hitting .322 in 46 games. With Colin Willis and Wilfredo Gimenez, the RailCats have the foundation of a pretty solid lineup for the future, should they be able to keep this group together for a year or two more.
The pair of lefties the team has in their bullpen are solid. Felix Carvallo and Sandy Lugo have outstanding arms and should be highly sought after as the trade deadline approaches.
Mid-Season MVP: Colin Willis
The Gary Southshore RailCats MVP award may soon be called the Colin Willis MVP award. He has been the best player on this team for three straight seasons. Willis is hitting. 275 and leads the team in homers (5), runs scored (36), and RBI (38). He even leads in stolen bases with 10.
It will be interesting to see if the team is willing to move him to get some assets for next year. He has a live bat and one has to wonder what he would be able to do if he has some protection and an easier park to hit in.
Mid-Season Top Pitcher: Ryan Thurston
Thurston has performed well out of the bullpen, leading the team in appearances with 20 while posting a 2.64 ERA. Thurston has thrown 30.2 innings, allowing 26 hits and 13 walks while striking out 29. He is 2-0.
He should be another that teams are looking for in a few weeks, especially considering his low classification.
The Gary Southshore RailCats are the only team to make the playoffs the last two seasons, but there will not be a third straight. Right now, it is a battle to stay out of last place, and we don’t expect them to hold off Milwaukee. It’s a sad season in Indiana.
By Robert Pannier