The Gary SouthShore RailCats acquired catcher Jackson Smith from the Westside Woolly Mammoths of the United Shore Professional Baseball (USPBL) and traded catcher Wilfredo Gimenez to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in exchange for cash considerations and a player to be named as part of a three-team trade between Gary, Fargo-Moorhead and Westside before Wednesday’s series opener vs. the St. Paul Saints.
Smith hasn’t played professionally sine 2018 after signing his first professional baseball contract with the Westside Woolly Mammoths of the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) following his senior season at Corban University. In 42 games with the Mammoths, Smith slashed .277/.333/.380/.713 with 26 runs, 46 hits, three doubles, one triple, four home runs, 17 RBIs and two stolen bases.
Prior to beginning his pro career in 2018, Smith played collegiately at Corban University from 2014-2017. A native of Salem, Ore., Smith finished with a .994 career fielding percentage and was a two-time First Team All-NAIA West selection and two-time NAIA West Glove award winner as a junior and senior.
As a senior in 2017, Smith slashed .255/.317/.303/.620 with a career-best and team-leading 42 hits, seven runs, eight doubles, 14 RBIs, five stolen bases and seven hit by pitches in 44 games. As a junior in 2016, Smith slashed .246/.331/.328/.659 with four runs, 33 hits, eight doubles, one home run, 18 RBIs and 11 hit by pitches in 48 games.
As a sophomore in 2015, Smith posted a .995 fielding percentage behind the plate and slashed .259/.307/.284/.591 with six runs, 21 hits, two doubles, nine RBIs, two stolen bases and a hit by pitch in 35 games. As a freshman in 2014, Smith slashed .245/.310/.264/.574 with two runs, 13 hits, one double, three RBIs and a hit by pitch in 27 games.
Gimenez started in a team-high 52 games behind the plate with Gary and threw out 22 percent of baserunners (11/51). Offensively, Gimenez slashed .246/.289/.310/.599 with 17 runs, 50 hits, seven doubles, two home runs, 22 RBIs and three stolen bases over 55 games (53 starts) in his third season with the RailCats.
Gimenez slashed .255/.295/.350/.645 with 23 runs, 56 hits, 12 doubles, three home runs, 27 RBIs and two stolen bases over 62 games in 2018. Defensively, Gimenez led Gary with 53 starts at catcher, 24 caught stealings, a 42 percent caught stealing percentage (24/57) and a 3.34 ERA when catching. In the 2018-19 offseason, Gimenez played for the Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan Winter League, slashing .298/.341/.381/.722 with six runs, 25 hits, four doubles, one home run, and four RBIs in 27 games.
A native of Maracay, Venezuela, Gimenez signed his first Independent Professional Baseball contract with Gary in 2017, and slashed .226/.271/.287/.559 with 15 runs, 44 hits, six doubles, two home runs and 25 RBIs in 60 games. Defensively, Gimenez led Gary catchers with 54 starts behind the plate and threw out 17 percent of basestealers (10/60). Gimenez began his professional baseball career in 2008 after signing with the Florida Marlins at the age of 17 as an international free agent. Gimenez spent seven seasons in the Marlins minor league system, reaching Double-A, and was invited to Marlins Big League camp for the only time in his career in 2014.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard on Wednesday for a three-game home series vs. St. Paul. RailCats’ left-hander Trevor Lubking (5-9, 4.43) makes his league-high 22nd start against former RailCat Jake Matthys (8-4, 5.56).
Wednesday’s series opener vs. the Saints is at 6:45 p.m. and is the last Creekside “Pop-Up Bar Wednesday”, celebrating Golden Girls, and NorthShore Health Centers Wednesday of the season. Visit any Northwest Indiana NorthShore Health Center for complimentary tickets to a Wednesday RailCats game.
Ticket packages for the 2019 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.