Except for the select teams that are still participating in the playoffs, the minor league baseball season has come to an end. Now is the prime time to take a look back at the former Duke players and how they performed during the 2011 professional baseball season.
Outfielder Alex Hassan spent the entire 2011 season with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The Eastern League All-Star hit .291 with 34 doubles, 13 homeruns, and 64 RBIs. He walked 76 times to just 79 strikeouts. Hassan had a .404 on-base percentage. Hassan struggled on the road in the EL, as he hit just .241 in 228 at-bats compared to .341 in 226 at-bats at home. He also cooled off after the All-Star break (.309 before), as he hit just .255 over the Sea Dogs final 41 games with just 19 RBIs.
Right-handed pitcher Greg Burke spent the entire 2011 season with the Tuscon Padres, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Burke struggled for much of the year, as he ended the season with a 5.70 ERA in 64 games. Over 79 innings, he allowed 50 earned runs on 100 hits. Burke walked 40 compared to 76 strikeouts and opponents hit .313 against him. He was good at home (2.91 ERA), but awful on the road (9.08 ERA).
After signing with the Washington Nationals as a non-drafted free agent this season, right-handed pitcher Ben Grisz made 11 appearances for the Auburn Doubledays. He was 1-0 with four saves and a 1.35 ERA. Over 20 innings, he allowed just three runs on 11 hits as opponents hit just .159 against him. Four hits and the three runs he allowed came in his 1.2 inning outing on July 9th. Righties collected just two hits off him in 11 innings. Grisz also was tough on the road, as he allowed just five hits in 15.2 innings.
Right-handed pitcher Dennis O’Grady was drafted this June by the Padres. He ended the 2011 season with the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League (Low-A). O’Grady made ten starts totaling 51.2 innings and went 4-2 with a 4.53 ERA. He walked 22 while striking out 43 and opponents hit .267 against him. O’Grady made one appearance for the TinCaps in the playoffs and pitched two perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts on September 11th (the TinCaps lost to the Lansing Lugnuts in the division series).
Left-hander Chris Manno was drafted by the Nationals in 2010 and was a South Atlantic League All-Star this season while with the Hagerstown Suns. While in Hagerstown, Manno was just 1-3 but had a 1.04 ERA and 12 saves in 34 games (totaling 43.1 innings). He allowed just one homerun and 20 hits (a .135 batting average against him). Manno walked 15 while striking out 69. Near the trading deadline, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes. Manno moved out to Bakersfield to play in the High-A California League. While there, he had just a 0.53 ERA in 13 appearances (totaling 17 innings). He allowed just six hits and one earned run as opponents hit just .107 against him. Manno walked six while striking out 31 (overall he had 100 strikeouts).
Shortstop Jake Lemmerman was the Pioneer League MVP in 2010 after being drafted that June by the LA Dodgers. In 2011, he began the season in the Cal League with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He hit .293 with 23 doubles, eight homeruns, and 54 RBIs. Lemmerman was a Cal League All-Star before being promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. He struggled there, as he hit .234 in 21 games. The Lookouts were ousted from the playoffs by the Tennessee Smokies but it wasn’t because of Lemmerman’s lack of offense. He got hot and hit .556 and went 3-for-3 in the team’s final game.
First baseman Nathan Freiman, a 2009 draft pick of the Padres, has spent the entire season in the Cal League with the Lake Elsinore Storm. During the regular season, Freiman hit .288 in 138 games with 35 doubles, four triples, 22 homeruns, and 111 RBIs. He and the rest of his Storm teammates are still playing, as the Storm are set to begin their series with the Stockton Ports for the Cal League championship. So far, Freiman is hitting .296 with seven RBIs in the postseason.
First baseman Jimmy Gallagher, a 2007 draft pick of the Chicago White Sox, struggled a bit this season with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. Overall he hit .246 in 126 games with 39 doubles, seven homeruns, and 54 RBIs.
Right-hander Mike Ness, a 2010 draft pick of the Houston Astros, spent the entire 2011 season in the Cal League with the Lancaster JetHawks. This season was a struggle, as he was 4-6 with a 5.98 ERA in 42 games (totaling 84.1 innings). He allowed 112 hits, 13 homeruns, and 56 earned runs (opponents hit .317 against him).
Catcher Ryan McCurdy signed with the Astros as a non-drafted free agent in 2010. He had a very good season with the Tri-City ValleyCats in the New York-Penn League in 2011. McCurdy hit .324 in 32 games with six doubles and 17 RBIs. He also had a .388 on-base percentage.
Left-handed pitcher Jeremy Gould spent this season with the Brooklyn Cyclones in the NY-Penn League after being drafted in 2010 by the NY Mets. Gould went 1-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 26 games (totaling 30.1 innings). He walked ten while striking out 46 and earned five saves. Gould was part of the Cyclones playoff team, who lost to the Staten Island Yankees. He pitched two innings and allowed two hits and a walk but did not allow a run in his only appearance.