The Greensboro Grasshoppers recently finished their inaugural season as the class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the South Atlantic League. My prior post on the BUCS Dugout Blog summarized the Greensboro Grasshoppers regular season results and introduced/highlighted the players that led of the 2019 Grasshoppers offense.
As identified in that post, Greensboro finished the first half of the South Atlantic League season in second placed 4.0 games behind the Northern Division champion Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore Orioles). Then, in the second half of the season, the Grasshoppers challenged for a potential wildcard slot in the playoffs. However, they lost out on that opportunity in the last few weeks of the season as the Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) mounted a strong finish and won the Northern Division for that half. The Grasshoppers had quite a successful inaugural season at First National Bank Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina. They finished the regular season with an overall season winning record of 79-59—twenty games over .500.
Earlier this summer I posted an article on Bucs Dugout that highlighted the pitching leaders of the Greensboro Grasshoppers pitching staff at the end of the first half of the South Atlantic League season. Here I will introduce the pitchers that led the Grasshoppers staff for the complete season in one or more of the seven traditional pitching statistic categories listed on the team’s official website.
Similar to that found for the end of season offense leaders, most of the pitchers that were mid-season team leaders were promoted to Pittsburgh’s advanced A class team in the Florida State League—the Bradenton Marauders. Therefore, they were either passed up by another pitcher that remained or no longer met the requirements to be a team leader for the pitching statistic category in which they ranked number one. In fact, three of the four pitchers in the Grasshoppers mid season leaders group were promoted: starter Brad Case and relievers Braeden Ogle and Logan Stoelke.
*Requires a minimum of 110.1 innings pitched based on 138 games and an average of .8 inning/game
+Requires a minimum of 14 win/loss decisions based on 138 games and an average of 1 W/L per each 10 games
The table above lists the Greensboro Grasshoppers pitchers that led the team for the season in each of seven traditional pitching statistics listed on the team’s official website. The first six of those stats, wins (W) through walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP) are typically associated with the rating of a starting pitcher’s performance. On that other hand, the last is the key stat for relief pitchers performing the closer role.
The caption for the table shows that three of those stats, earned run average (ERA), walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP), and win-loss percentage (W-L%), have special qualification requirements. Note that ERA and WHIP require a player to have pitched a minimum of .8 innings per team game. Since Greensboro played 138 games during the regular season, to qualify as a team leader in either of them at the end of the South Atlantic League regular season a pitcher must have thrown a minimum of 110 and 1/3 innings. On the other hand, W-L% requires that a pitcher record at least one win or loss decision for each ten games played by his team during the season. Therefore, to qualify as the leader of Greensboro’s pitching staff in win-loss percentage the sum of a pitchers wins and losses must equal or exceed 14.
New to the list of Greensboro Grasshoppers pitching leaders is right hand starter Alex Manasa. Manasa played college ball before enter the June 2017 First Year Player Draft and being selected and signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was assigned to the Pirates rookie class team in the Appalachian League, the Bristol Pirates, for the start of their season. Then, Manasa pitched the complete 2018 season for the Pirates former class A team in the South Atlantic League, the West Virginia Power.
Alex Manasa returned to the SAL for the 2019 opening day; made his pitching debut in the Greensboro Grasshoppers uniform in game three of the new season; and pitched as a member of their starting rotation for the full season. Overall, he posted a 9-5 record in twenty-five pitching appearances (all starts). The 2019 Grasshoppers pitching leaders table identifies that Manasa ranked number one among all qualifying pitchers on their staff in three traditional pitching stat categories: innings pitched (139.2), strikeouts (120), and earned run average (3.48). However, he also ranked number two among all qualifying pitchers on the Grasshoppers pitching staff in the other three categories associated with a starter: wins (9), win-loss percentage (.643), and walks plus hits per innings pitched (1.19).
Finally, Alex Manasa pitched enough innings and had enough W/L decisions during the 2019 season to qualify as a league leader in each of those six stat categories. In fact, he ranked among the top ten pitchers in the league in five of them: W(#7 tied with 5 others), W-L%(#5), IP(#3), ERA(#6), and WHIP(#7).
Osvaldo Bido is the only player from the Greensboro Grasshoppers mid-season pitching leaders group that ended the season still leading the team’s staff in a number of pitching statistic categories. At the end of the first half season, he ranked #1 on Greensboro’s pitching staff in: wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts.
As highlighted in my mid-season pitching leaders post, Bido is an International player from the Dominican Republic; signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent in 2017; and was a member of the Grasshoppers opening day starting rotation. He finished the first half with an 8-4 record and recorded 3 more wins versus 1 loss before being promoted to the Bradenton Marauders (Florida State League) on August 22nd. Therefore, he closed out his season with the Greensboro in the South Atlantic League with an 11-5 record.
Overall Osvaldo Bido pitched enough innings (111.2) and recorded enough wins and losses (16) to qualify as a team leader in each of the sis pitching statistic categories associated with starters. Note from the pitching leaders table that he finished the season ranked number one on the team in wins (11), win-loss % (.688), and walks plus hits per innings pitched (1.10). On the other hand, his 111.2 innings pitched was one-third of an inning short for qualifying as a league leader in ERA or WHIP. However, Bido did rank in the top five for the season among all pitchers in the South Atlantic League in W(#2-tied with 1 other pitcher) and W-L%(#4).
Also new to the Greensboro Grasshoppers 2019 season pitching leaders group is right hand reliever Yerry De Los Santos. De Los Santos is an International player from the Dominican Republic. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in July 2014 at the age of 16 and began his pro career the next season with their rookie class team in the Dominican Summer League—the DSL Pirates. Therefore, 2019 is the fifth season of De Los Santos’ professional baseball career.
Yerry De Los Santos came stateside in 2018 and played briefly for Pittsburgh’s rookie class teams in the Gulf Coast League (GCL Pirates) and Appalachian League (Bristol Pirates). He joined the Greensboro Grasshoppers roster on May 4, 2019; became a regular out of their bullpen; and took over as their primary closer in late July. De Los Santos posted a 4-2 record in thirty-seven relief appearances and as shown in the Grasshoppers pitching leaders table finished the season with a team leading 13 saves. Moreover, he pitched with an excellent earned run average (1.44) and walks plus hits per innings pitched (0.88). His 13 saves tied him with three other team’s relievers for number three in the South Atlantic League for the season.
Walter Triebel spent 15 years as an adjunct faculty member at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has had an extensive career in business and as a textbook and reference book author. Triebel’s “Road-Tripping the South Atlantic League: A Guide to the Teams, Ballparks and Cities” was published by McFarland in 2016. It’s available for purchase on their website as well as Amazon.