09/09/2019 10:58 AM
CONTACT: Jared Shlensky
2019 season ends on high note
Despite finishing the 2019 season 40-59, Gary won its last four home games and closed out the year with its only home sweep vs. the Lincoln Saltdogs over Labor Day weekend. Gary shutout Lincoln, 3-0, in the final game of the year before winning the first two games of the series, 2-0, and 3-1.
Gary went 7-6 in its first 13 games of the season before going 11-16 in the month of June, resulting in a first half record of 21-29. The RailCats struggles carried over into the month of July as the team went 10-19. August proved to be no better as Gary went 1-6-1 in its eight series in the month.
Inconsistent offense and defense results in RailCats missing postseason for first time since 2016
Gary failed to return to the postseason for the third straight season after finishing fifth in the North Division and eighth overall in the American Association with a record of 40-59. Offensively, the ‘Cats were outscored by opposing teams, 475-413 (62 runs), and finished second-to-last in batting average (.242), hits (785), home runs (43), extra-base hits (195), totals bases (1,096), slugging percentage (.337) and OPS (.672).
Defensively, Gary finished ninth among the 12 teams in the American Association with a .977 fielding percentage and tied for last in the league with a .449 range factor. The RailCats committed the fourth most errors (83), committed at least one error in 53% of its games (52 of 99) and threw out just 23% percent of basestealers (21 of 92).
RailCats struggle in Division Play
After finishing the 2018 regular-season 41-24 against the North Division, Gary finished the 2019 season 22-42 against the North. The RailCats finished above .500 against just one team in the division (Milwaukee, 9-4) and finished below .500 against the other four (Chicago, 2-12; Fargo-Moorhead, 3-10; St. Paul, 4-8; Winnipeg, 4-8).
Marzilli and Corcino have contracts purchased by MLB Organizations
Outfielders Edgar Corcino and Evan Marzilli both had their contracts purchased by MLB organizations in the 2019 season. Corcino became the 34th player in franchise history to have his contract purchased by an MLB Team after the Boston Red Sox purchased his contract on May 23rd while Marzilli became the 35th player in franchise history to have his contract purchased by an MLB team after the Arizona Diamondbacks purchased his contract on July 7th.
Corcino signed with Gary on March 21 and went 4-for-16 with two RBIs, a double, a run, a hit by pitch and three walks in five games with the ‘Cats before having his contract purchased by Boston. Corcino spent all of the 2019 season in the Boston Red Sox organization with the Salem Red Sox (Class-A Advanced Affiliate) of the Carolina League, slashing .315/.386/.557/.943 with 36 runs, 69 hits, 18 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 31 extra-base hits, 122 total bases, 46 RBIs, 20 walks and two stolen bases in 68 games.
Marzilli signed his first Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) contract with Gary on April 19th and slashed .192/.346/.252/.597 in 43 games with the ‘Cats. Before having his contract purchased by Arizona, Marzilli was tied for fourth in the league with 31 walks, led all qualifying outfielders in the league with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 107 total chances, and led the RailCats outfield with three assists.
Marzilli split the 2019 campaign in the Diamondbacks minor league system between the Jackson Generals (Double-A Affiliate) of the Southern League and the Reno Aces (Triple-A Affiliate) of the Pacific Coast League. In 22 games between the two clubs, Marzilli slashed .123/.286/.193/.479 with nine runs, seven hits, one double, one home run, nine total bases, three RBIs and 13 walks in 22 games. Before signing with Gary in April, Marzilli signed a minor league free agent contract with the Chicago Cubs on January 16, and went 3-for-18 with two runs, one double, one stolen base, and two walks in Spring Training. Prior to signing with the Cubs, Marzilli previously spent seven seasons in the Diamondbacks minor league system.
RailCats make franchise record 120 transactions during season
Gary made a franchise-record 120 transactions during the 2019 season. The RailCats made 25 moves in May, 26 in June, 42 in July and 27 in August. The RailCats had 55 different players on the 23-man active roster and never went more than five days without making at least one transaction.
Walraven shines in rookie season
Despite missing the last 20 games of the season due to a strained right oblique, Tom Walraven slashed .300/.409/.438/.847 in 62 games with Gary. Walraven signed his first professional baseball contract with the RailCats on Oct. 30, 2018, following his redshirt-senior season at the University of New Haven and posted the fifth longest consecutive on-base streak in the American Association after reaching base safely in 30 straight games from May 22nd through July 6th.
Walraven also led the RailCats with a 14-game hitting streak and finished second on the team with six home runs, 35 walks, nine multi-RBI games, eight multi-run games, two multi-home run games and eight multi-walk games. The 24-year-old also posted 35 runs, 61 hits, 10 doubles, 16 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs, three hit by pitches, and six stolen bases.
Sinibaldi finishes with league-best 2.75 ERA
Justin Sinibaldi finished with the best ERA among qualifying pitchers in the American Association after posting a 2.75 ERA in his first season in the league. Heading into the last day of the regular-season, Sinibaldi ranked third in the league with a 2.89 ERA, however, the right-hander tossed six shutout innings in his last start vs. Lincoln, dropping his ERA to 2.75.
Overall in 2019, Sinibaldi went 6-7 with a 2.75 ERA in 25 games (19 starts). The 25-year-old logged 100+ innings for the first time in his pro career with Gary (118), and yielded just 43 runs (36 earned) on 106 hits and 45 walks while striking out a career-best 76 hitters.
Sinibaldi made his first six appearances out of the bullpen before moving to the rotation on June 11th. In 19 starts with the ‘Cats, Sinibaldi went 6-7 with a 1.73 ERA. In the second half of the season, Sinibaldi went 5-3 with a 2.28 ERA. A native of Kenner, La., Sinibaldi didn’t allow an earned run in his final 13.2 innings pitched, recorded a quality start in his last five starts and went at least six innings in his last eight starts.
Willis named American Association All-Star Game MVP
Colin Willis’ stellar 2019 season was highlighted by being named the American Association All-Star Game MVP on July 23rd at CHS Field in St. Paul, Minn. The outfielder went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, a run and a double off the bench for the North Division in a 7-3 come-from-behind win over the South Division. The All-Star MVP nod is the first by a RailCats player since Gary joined the American Association in 2011 and just the second in franchise history (Jay Pecci, Northern League, 2008).
Willis finished tied for first in the league with a 1.000 stolen base percentage (16 for 16), and third with 69 walks, seven triples and a .429 on-base percentage. A native of Sheboygan, Wis., Willis also led the RailCats in games (95), at-bats (328), runs (65), hits (99), doubles (23), triples (seven), home runs (10), extra-base hits (40), total bases (166), walks (69), intentional walks (three), stolen bases (16), on-base percentage (.429), slugging percentage (.505), OPS (.935), multi-hit games (30), multi-RBI games (13), multi-run games (14), multi-home run games (two) and multi-walk games (12).
Willis was also named the American Association Pointstreak Player of the Week for the second time in his career for the week ending August 18th. Willis slashed .500/.552/1.083/1.635 with eight runs, 12 hits, four doubles, two triples, two home runs, five RBIs, three walks (one intentional) and a hit by pitch over the seven-game stretch. Willis’ best day of the week was arguably on August 14th after posting a career-high 12 total bases and finishing a double shy of the cycle vs. the Texas AirHogs. Willis went 4-for-5 that night with three runs, three RBIs, two home runs, a triple and a single. The multi-home run game was his second of the year and the third of his career. Willis’ hot week continued on August 16th vs. the Milwaukee Milkmen after the finishing the night 3-for-3 with a season-high three doubles, a run and a walk. Willis reached base safely in three of his four plate appearances on August 17th in the series finale vs. the Milkmen and closed out the week 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI double on August 18th in the series opener vs. the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
Willis closed out the season on a high note, reaching base safely in 16 of his last 17 games and 36 of his last 38 games. The All-Star slashed .376/.482/.656/1.138 with 22 runs, 35 hits, eight doubles, three triples, four home runs, 15 extra-base hits, 17 RBIs, 61 total bases, 14 walks, six hit by pitches, three stolen bases and just 10 strikeouts over 27 games in the month of August.
Schilling reaches base safely in all 18 games to open pro career
Hayden Schilling reached base safely in all 18 of his games after signing his first professional baseball contract with Gary on August 3rd following his senior season at the University of New Mexico. Schilling started at least one game at four different positions (third base, nine; shortstop, five; second base, three; designated hitter, one), hit in three different spots in the batting order (second, nine; seventh, six; eight, three), and reached base at least twice eight times. A native of San Diego, Calif., Schilling slashed .246/.372/.323/.695 with five runs, 16 hits, one double, two triples, six RBIs, 11 walks, two hit by pitches, seven stolen bases, four multi-hit games and one multi-run game, multi-RBI game and multi-walk game in his first season of professional baseball.
Healthy Lugo dominant to close out season
Sandy Lugo proved to be one of the top relievers in the American Association for the last month of the season after going 1-0 with five saves and a 1.04 ERA in his last eight appearances. The right-hander allowed just run on two hits and two walks while striking out 13 hitters in his last eight appearances. Most impressive, the 25-year-old missed over a month of the season with two separate injuries from July 3rd through August 12th.
After not pitching professionally in the United States in 2018, Lugo signed his first Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) contract with Gary on May 18th and went 2-2 with a team-best 1.27 ERA, 11 saves, .162 opponents batting average, 1.13 WHIP and 14.9 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) percentage in 24 games (one start). Lugo also recorded at least one strikeout in 23 of his 24 appearances. In 28.1 innings pitched, Lugo yielded just four runs on 16 hits and 16 walks while striking out 44.
A native of Las Matas de Farfan, Dominican Republic, Lugo didn’t allow a run in his first 10 appearances, covering a season-high-tying 13.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
Ticket packages for the 2020 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.