After playing 46 games as a member of the Frontier League’s Gateway Grizzlies in 2017, catcher Chase Simmons was a part of a set of releases by Gateway this offseason. Today, the Washington Wild Things have announced the signing of the former Grizzlies backstop.

Simmons is a native of Kelso, Missouri, and is 23 years old. He played two seasons at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri, before heading to Lubbock Christian University, where he played collegiately for two seasons in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, Simmons drove in 13 runs and had six extra-base hits of his 28 hits in 115 plate appearances. In 2017, he hit .314, with 54 hits (14 extra-base) in 172 at bats, and drove in 29 runs, while sporting an OBP of .389.

As solid as his bat was at Lubbock Christian, Simmons was good defensively as well, as he threw out 26 would-be base stealers over the course of the two seasons. In 2017, Simmons was awarded an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove award as the NCAA Division II Gold Glove Catcher when the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings Sporting Goods released the defensive awards in the nine divisions of amateur baseball.

As a member of the Grizzlies, Simmons threw out 28% of runners. He made just two errors. At the plate, Simmons had 10 extra-base hits and 11 RBI in 180 plate appearances. His on-base percentage was .326.

“We were fortunate to have the best catching duo in 2017 and the depth of catching was something we had to address moving forward. The battle between Chase and Carson [Waln] for the backup spot should be one of the most fun to watch,” said general manager Steven Zavacky. “Chase played very well in his first year of professional baseball, he’s a strong kid at the plate and holds a high defensive standard internally. The most impressive thing about Chase to us was his competitiveness. We outlined that we have an all-star catcher returning and we were looking for someone to fight for a backup job. Without hesitation, Chase accepted the challenge.”

For Simmons, it’s an opportunity to continue playing professional baseball. He said he is excited and that his first experience in pro ball was memorable with Gateway.

“[My] first pro-ball experience with Gateway was unbelievable,” said Simmons. “[The] fans were awesome, my teammates were great, and I’m thankful that Gateway gave me the opportunity to play professional baseball. [It was a] dream come true and I wish them nothing by the best, but [I’m] looking forward to this new beginning.”

On signing with the Wild Things organization, Simmons said he is excited to join a winner.

“I’m very excited to sign with this organization,” said Simmons. “They won last year and will continue to do that. Just being a part of a winning team will be fun and I’m excited to learn day in and day out from these guys and try to help them win any way possible. This was a no brainer for me when they called me. I’m very excited to get going with this group.”

Simmons continued by saying he is looking forward to meeting his new teammates and interacting with the Wild Things fans. As for what his expectations are, he said he’s keeping it somewhat simple.

“[My expectations are] to come in and learn and try to help this team win any way possible,” said Simmons. “Whatever I have to do to help this team win is what I’m going to do. [Some of my personal goals involve] just trying to keep improving my game each year. I have some written down and will continue to strive for those but in the meantime, it all comes down to winning.”

According to Simmons, he’s just a kid that loves to compete and loves the game of baseball.

“You’re going to get my best day in and day out,” said Simmons. Off the field, I’m easy going and I’m just a normal person. I love watching moves, sports, playing video games and doing what every person likes to do. I’m excited to get going and meet the fans and pursue, [on the field], the goal of bringing a championship to this organization and fan base.”