Pirates Honor Grasshoppers Coaching Staff and Aaron Shackelford with Young Bucs Awards
The Pittsburgh Pirates today named the Greensboro Grasshoppers coaching staff the organization’s Staff-of-the-Year. The announcement was made by Director of Coaching and Player Development John Baker.
Greensboro’s staff included Manager Kieran Mattison, Pitching Coach Matt Ford, Hitting Coach Ruben Gotay, Development Coach Blake Butler, Certified Athletic Trainer Victor Silva, Baseball Operations/Minor League Operations Assistant Tyler Saundry, Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coach Henry Torres, Nutritionist Eric Turner and Clubhouse Manager Kenny Berdejo.
The Grasshoppers advanced to the High-A East League championship series after posting the second-best record (74-46) in the league. Greensboro’s 74 wins were also tied for the 11th-most in all of Minor League Baseball and third-most among all teams in High-A, trailing only Bowling Green (82-36) and Quad Cities (77-41).
Offensively, the Grasshoppers finished tied for first among all High-A East teams in runs scored (723), first in hits (1049) and total bases (1865), second in home runs (188), third in slugging (.454) and OPS (.790) and fifth in on-base percentage (.337).
Greensboro’s pitching staff finished fifth among all High-A East League teams with 1197 strikeouts. Individually, the Greensboro staff was highlighted by High-A East League Pitcher-of-the-Year Quinn Priester, who led the league in ERA (3.04), batting average against (.225), WHIP (1.24) and winning percentage (.636).
Joel Hanrahan was named the organization’s Danny Murtaugh Coach-of-the-Year. Hanrahan has spent each of the past five seasons as a pitching coach in the Pirates organization, including the 2021 campaign with Triple-A Indianapolis. Hanrahan began his coaching career in the Pirates organization with short-season Bristol in 2017. He has also served as a pitching coach in the Pirates organization at Single-A West Virginia in 2018, Double-A Altoona in 2019 and at the club’s alternate training site in 2020.
Indianapolis’ Bligh Madris, Altoona’s Josh Bissonette, Greensboro’s Aaron Shackelford and Bradenton’s Logan Hofmann were named the organization’s Manny Sanguillen Teammates-of-the-Year.
The 25-year-old Madris spent a majority of the 2021 season with Triple-A Indianapolis, where he hit .272 (91-for-334) with 25 doubles, one triple, nine home runs and 55 RBI in 104 games after being promoted from Altoona on May 19. During the final month of the season, Madris hit .321 (26-for-81) with seven doubles, one home run, 12 RBI and an .815 OPS in 21 games. Madris also hit safely in 15 straight games from August 28 to September 15, which was the fifth-longest hitting streak by any player in the Triple-A East League this season. Madris was selected in the ninth round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft by the Pirates.
The 24-year-old Bissonette spent the entire season with Double-A Altoona, where he hit .229 (53-for-231) with 10 doubles, one home run and 21 RBI while playing in 71 games. Bissonette, who was selected by the Pirates in the 31st round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, was also named Altoona’s Unsung Hero this past season for his versatility on the infield and outstanding defense.
Shackelford finished tied for fourth among all High-A East League players with 22 home runs, which also ranked third among all Pirates farmhands behind Mason Martin (25) and Matt Fraizer (23). The 25-year-old also finished the season ranked fifth among Pittsburgh farmhands with 69 RBI, which was tied for the sixth-most among all High-A East League players.
Hofmann went 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA (82.2ip/33er), 103 strikeouts and a .196 batting average against (59-for-301) in 22 appearances (13 starts) with the Low-A Southeast League champion Bradenton Marauders. The 21-year-old Hofmann, who was selected by the Pirates in the fifth round of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft, also finished tied for fifth among all Pirates minor league players with 103 strikeouts during his first professional season.