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RailCats announce Opening Day roster

05/16/2017 3:14 PM -

Contact: Jared Shlensky

** Click here to listen to Greg Tagert talk about his team's opening day roster **

GARY, Ind. Manager Greg Tagert and his coaching staff announced the Gary SouthShore RailCats 23-man opening day roster on Tuesday afternoon. The RailCats roster includes 17 players from last season, including all-star pitcher Charle Rosario. The RailCats roster includes eight pitcher and 15 position players.

“Our position players came in prepared to play,” said Tagert. “They came in top physical condition. These position players did everything that was expected of them.

The RailCats open the season on the road against the St. Paul Saints for the consecutive season on Thursday, May 18.

“We’ve got a roster that for league deadline purposes was submitted today,” said Tagert. “Several factors played into it, most importantly (Jorge) De Leon and (Carlos) Misell starting on the disabled and inactive list.”

Pitchers (8 Active + 1 Inactive + 1 Disabled List)

Tagert opens the season with 10 total pitchers, five of whom did not pitch for the RailCats last season. Last year’s closer Jorge De Leon opens the season on the disabled list with a right arm strain while Carlos Misell begins the year on the inactive list.

Tagert’s starting rotation to the open the season includes opening day starter Rosario, Alex Gunn, newcomer Jeff McKenzie and Conrad Wozniak.

Rosario gets the opening day nod for the second consecutive season, joining Willie Glen as the only other pitcher to start back-to-back season openers under Tagert.

“Charle’s ready to go.” said Tagert. “He came in better than he was when he left us last year and that was impressive to see. Hopefully he can maintain that.”

Last season Rosario was named an American Association All-Star after leading the league in starts (24) and the RailCats in wins (11), complete games (4), innings pitched (155.1) and strikeouts (120).

Gunn returns to Gary after getting signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2016 season. The southpaw went 2-0 with one save and a 3.37 ERA in 12 games (six starts) before having his contract purchased by the Diamondbacks. Gunn was even better as a starter, allowing just eight runs in his six starts (2.20 ERA) for the RailCats. Gunn pitched for both the Arizona League Diamondbacks and the Kane County Cougars (Lo-A) last season, finishing 5-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 11 games (four starts).

McKenzie, who was acquired in a trade from Lincoln during the offseason, was named the team’s No. 3 starter. McKenzie went 5-4 with a 4.32 ERA in 30 games (seven starts) for Saltdogs last season after not playing in 2015. McKenzie began his minor league baseball career in 2013 after being drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 28th round of the MLB Draft out of CSU-Bakersfield.

Wozniak pitched in seven games (three starts) for the RailCats last year, finishing without a record and a 1.04 ERA in 17.1 innings. The rookie struck out 17 and walked only two batters.

With De Leon on the disabled list to open the season, Tagert will go with a closer by committee to open the season.

De Leon went 0-2 with a 1.70 ERA and a team-high 11 saves in 21 relief outings last season for Gary. De Leon pitched in parts of two seasons (2013 and 2014) for the Houston Astros. De Leon converted to pitching in 2010 after being signed by the Astros as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic in 2006.

Drasen Johnson, Laetten Galbraith, Tyler Harris and Braulio Torres-Perez round out the bullpen for the RailCats. Johnson signed with the RailCats on April 17 after pitching in the Colorado Rockies minor league system for two seasons. Last season, Johnson went 7-5 with a 4.34 ERA in 37 games (11 starts) for the Asheville Tourists (Lo-A). In 2015, Johnson went 2-4 with a 2.37 ERA in 15 games (four starts) for the Boise Hawks (Class-A Short Season). Johnson was drafted by Rockies in 26th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of Illinois. As a redshirt-senior in 2015, Johnson finished 10-3 with a 2.01 ERA in a Big Ten-high 116.2 innings pitched.

Galbraith was acquired from the Ottawa Champions (CAMA) on Nov. 4 for outfielder Adron Chambers. Last season, Galbraith went 3-7 with a 5.01 ERA in 23 games (13 starts). In 2015, Galbraith went 4-5 with a 4.02 ERA in 16 games (10 starts) for the Champions.

T. Harris signed with the RailCats on May 10, 2017. Last year, T. Harris pitched for both the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks and the Texas Airhogs. In two starts, Harris went 0-1 with a 10.57 ERA for the Redhawks, and in 24 games (five starts), Harris went 2-2 with a 4.99 ERA for the Airhogs.

Torres-Perez returns to Gary after making two appearances (one start) in 2016. The southpaw also pitched for the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League last season, finishing 4-0 with a 3.21 ERA and a save in seven games (five starts).

Misell signed with RailCats in late February after pitching for Texas last season. Misell finished 2-8 with six saves and a 5.82 ERA in 36 games (eight starts) for the Airhogs. Misell spent three seasons in the Seattle Mariners minor league system after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2013 out of Venezuela. Misell reached as high as Hi-A in the Mariners organization, going 5-7 with a 5.25 ERA and two saves for the Bakersfield Blaze in 34 games (eight starts) in 2015.

Catchers (2)

Jaime Del Valle and Wilfredo Gimenez open the season as the team’s two catchers. Both are expected to receive equal playing time behind the plate.

Del Valle begins his third season with the RailCats in 2017. Del Valle hit .270 with nine RBIs, 22 walks and a stolen base in an injury plagued 2016 season. Del Valle, a switch hitter, batted .251 in his first season with the RailCats in 2015, totaling 22 RBIs, seven extra-base hits and two stolen bases. A native of Barranquilla, COL, Del Valle began his professional baseball career with the Chicago White Sox in the Dominican Summer League in 2008. Del Valle played in the DSL for four years, earning DSL Post-Season honors in 2009. Del Valle hit .299 with a .414 OBP, two home runs, 28 RBI and eight stolen bases.

Gimenez begins his Independent Professional Baseball Career in 2017 after last playing professional baseball three years ago in the Miami Marlins organization. Gimenez batted .243 with a home run, 22 RBIs and two stolen bases in 44 games for the Jacksonville Suns (Double-A) in 2014. Gimenez was also invited to the Miami Marlins’ Big League Camp for the first time in 2014. A native of Maracay, VZ, Gimenez signed with the Marlins in 2008 at the age of 17, spending six seasons in their minor league system. Gimenez’s best season offensively came in 2012, where the catcher batted .266 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 87 games for Greensboro (Lo-A).


Infielders (8)

Tagert opens the season with eight infielders, including returners Alex Crosby, Andy De Jesus, Kris Goodman, John Holland, Frank Martinez and Randy Santiesteban. Not only are Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Parenty both beginning their first season with RailCats, they’re both beginning their professional baseball careers after last playing college baseball.

Alex Crosby is penciled in as the team’s opening day first baseman. Crosby begins his third season with the RailCats in 2017 after leading the team in at-bats (311) and hits (91) in 2016. The infielder batted .293 with three homers, 16 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs and six stolen bases last season. Crosby began his RailCat career in 2015, batting .200 with six hits and three doubles in 30 at-bats.  

Holland and DeJesus are expected to be the team’s everyday middle infielders. De Jesus returns to Gary for his second season after hitting .262 with two home runs, 13 RBIs and four stolen bases in 25 games last season. De Jesus signed with Gary after earning Missouri Valley Conference First Team and All Defensive Team honors at In­diana State University as a senior. Holland returns to Gary in 2017 after batting .302 with a home run, 14 RBIs and a stolen base in 2016. Before signing with Gary in 2016, Holland played two games for the River City Rascals of the Frontier League.

Kris Goodman, who can also play the outfield, is slated as the team’s starting third baseman. Goodman returns to Gary in 2017 after hitting .238 with three extra-base hits, three RBIs and a stolen base in seven games for the RailCats in 2016. Goodman’s professional base­ball career began in 2015 after being drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 32nd round of the MLB Draft out of the University of Iowa. A native of St. Paul, Minn., Goodman spent two seasons in the Marlins minors league system, reaching as high as Low-A.

Frank Martinez is expected to get most of his playing time at designated hitter, however, the veteran and oldest player on the team (31 years old) can play both corner infield positions, too. Martinez returns to Gary in 2017 after hitting .301 with seven home runs, 20 extra-base hits, 10 stolen bases and a team-high 56 RBIs in 2016. Before joining the RailCats in 2016, Martinez played for the Sioux Falls Canaries, batting .215 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 22 games.

A native of Santo Domingo, D.R., Martinez signed with the Oakland Athletics at the age of 17 in 2003. Martinez, a switch-hitter, spent five years in Oakland’s minor league sys­tem, reaching as high as Double-A. Martinez’s best season offensively in the A’s organiza­tion came in 2007 with the Stockton Ports. Martinez hit .261 with 12 home runs, 60 RBI, 46 extra-base hits and 14 stolen bases.

Fitzgerald and Parenty serve as the team’s utility infielders, however, Parenty has experience playing the outfield, too. Fitzgerald hit .230 with one homer, 24 RBIs, three stolen bases and 14 extra-base hits as a senior at Creigh­ton University in 2016. Fitzgerald’s best collegiate year came in 2015, where the middle infielder was named All-Big East Second Team and to the Big East All-Tournament Team. A native of Burr Ridge, Ill., Fitzgerald hit .279 with a team-high four home runs, 13 doubles and 80 total bases as a junior.

Parenty begins his professional baseball career in 2017 with Gary after batting .286 with one home run, 28 RBIs, six stolen bases and 10 extra-base hits as a senior at Stony Brook University. Parenty was named the America East Conference Player of the Year and to the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Team as a junior in 2015 after hitting .367 with a career-high two home runs, 47 RBIs, .432 OBP, .524 slugging percentage, 38 runs, 77 hits, 13 dou­bles, seven triples, 22 extra-base hits and 19 walks. A native of Wantagh, N.Y., Parenty was named a Louisville Slugger All-American, the America East Rookie of the Year, First Team All-America East and America East All Rookie in 2013 after batting a team-high .333 with 17 RBIs.

Outfielders (5)

With seven outfielders on spring training roster, Greg Tagert elected to keep five for his opening day roster, including three who can play all three outfield positions. Anthony Cheky Jr., Chase Harris and Reggie Wilson have experience playing all three outfield positions while Cameron Newell and Colin Willis are expected to play primarily in the corners.

Cheky Jr. returns to Gary in 2017 for his third straight year after hitting .300 with 16 RBIs, nine extra-base hits and eight stolen bases in 38 games with the RailCats in 2016. Cheky Jr. had his contract purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks on December 2, 2015, but wasn’t signed out of Spring Training. Cheky Jr. began his professional baseball career in 2015 with Gary, hitting .375 with 3 RBIs in three games (11 at-bats).

A Portage High School alum, Cheky Jr. played collegiately at Michigan State University, hitting .312 with 20 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and seven extra-base hits as a senior in 2015. Cheky Jr. led the Big Ten with 29 stolen bases as a junior in 2014 and led the Spartans in stolen bases with 15 as a sophomore in 2013. Cheky Jr. batted .311 as a freshman in 2012 and finished with a team-high 15 stolen bases. Cheky Jr. batted .486 with four home runs, four triples, 11 doubles, 21 stolen bases, 34 runs and 36 RBIs, earning the 2011 Northwest Indiana Times Player of the Year and IHSAABCA 4A First-Team All-State honors.

C. Harris is arguably the team’s best defensive outfielders and returns to Gary in 2017 after hitting .299 with one home run, 12 RBIs, eight stolen bases and 23 runs in 38 games for the RailCats last season. Prior to joining the RailCats, Harris played for the Lincoln Saltdogs, batting .191 with four RBIs, a double and three stolen bases in 25 games. A native of Boise, Idaho, C. Harris was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 14th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of New Mexico. C. Harris spent two sea­sons in the Phillies minor league system, reaching as high as Hi-A. Harris’s best offensive season came in 2015. In 65 games for Clearwater, C. Harris hit .265 with seven extra-base hits, 18 RBIs, 15 stolen bases and 29 runs.

Wilson returns to Gary in 2017 after batting a career-high .337 with one home run, 14 RBIs, eight extra-base hits and four stolen bases in 27 games for the RailCats in 2016. Before playing for the RailCats in 2016, Wilson played for Laredo and the Alpine Cow­boys of the Pecos League. Wilson batted .455 with six RBIs, five extra-base hits and a stolen base in six games for Alpine before signing with Laredo. Wilson was drafted out of Oklahoma City University by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 35th round of the 2015 MLB Draft but didn’t play for any of their minor league teams. Wilson was named to the First Team All-Sooner Athletic Conference Team after hitting .374 with eight home runs, 30 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and 72 runs as a junior in 2015 for the Stars.

Newell returns to Gary in 2017 after hitting .303 with a .404 OBP, 14 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs and four stolen bases in 2016 with the RailCats. Newell began his professional base­ball career in 2015 with the Gulf Coast League Marlins after getting selected by the Mi­ami Marlins in the 35th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of UC-Santa Barbara. A native of Roseburg, Ore., Newell hit .309 with two extra-base hits, three RBIs and four stolen bases in 19 games for the GCL Marlins before getting promoted to the New York Penn League. Newell hit .106 with seven extra-base hits and three RBIs for Batavia (Class-A Short Season) to close out the 2015 season.

Willis returns to Gary in 2017 after hitting .231 with three extra-base hits, five RBIs, and three runs in 11 games (39 at-bats). Willis originally signed with Lake Erie Crushers of the Frontier League in the spring of 2016 after hitting .417 with one home run, five ex­tra-base hits and 10 stolen bases for the Yuma Wranglers of the Arizona Winter League. Willis was inducted into the Purdue University North Central Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 after hitting .364 with five home runs and 43 RBIs as a senior in 2015. Willis is also the school’s single-season leader in hits (93), runs scored (65) stolen bases (28) and triples

The RailCats season opener is on Thursday, May 18 at 7:05 p.m. against the St. Paul Saints at CHS Field. RHP Charle Rosario (0-0, 0.00) gets the ball for the RailCats while the Saints have yet to announce their starter for Thursday’s game.

Gary’s home opener is on Friday, May 26 vs. the Texas Airhogs. Friday’s game vs. the Airhogs is a Fifth Third Bank Fireworks Friday and features a free magnet schedule giveaway. The first 1,000 fans receive a free magnet schedule, courtesy of Great Lakes Orthopedics.

Jared Shlensky and Austin Anderson bring you all 100 RailCats games this season on WEFM (95.9 FM) and online at Fans can purchase tickets for RailCats home games by calling (219) 882-BALL or online at The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

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