Zach Granite was just named the winner of the Sherry Robertson Award, sharing the title with Double-A teammate Stephen Gonsalves. The award is given annually to the Minnesota Twins minor league player of the year. This is a major step forward for the Twins prospect. It points towards a bright future and a possible call-up to the big leagues in the not-too-distant future. With the 2016 season that the Twins had, Zach might just be at the right place at the right time. Here is a closer look at what makes Granite such a special player to watch.
Seton Hall Product
Granite was drafted by the Twins in 2013 after playing his college ball at Seton Hall. The Twins selected him in the 14th round of the draft. It has taken a while for Granite to adjust to the professional game. It is a big transition to handle pitching at this level when you are using a wooden bat for the first time in your life. Every player is different when it comes to making the transition, but it appears like something clicked for Granite this year. Growing up in New York City, Granite was exposed to many different leagues around the area, which has certainly helped with this adjustment. His hard work growing up has certainly paid off, as he is as fundamentally sound as any prospect in the Twins organization.
Doing Damage at Double-A
In his three previous seasons in the minor leagues, Granite was never able to get above Class A. However, the Twins thought he did enough last year to warrant some time with the big league club this spring. Granite was able to do enough during his time with the Twins in spring training to be promoted to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.
Granite was surprised that he got to start the year with Chattanooga. He had thought he would be back in Single-A with the Ft. Myers squad. He let the promotion inspire him, and he had a great season with Chattanooga. He batted .295, scored 86 runs and stole 56 bases. He also showed the same great defense in centerfield that he has displayed since he was drafted. Granite is a freak of an athlete who was also a standout hockey player in high school, demanding looks from Pittsburgh Penguins scouts.
The speed of Granite is his most valuable asset. It allows him to make stellar plays in the outfield and steal bases with great success. It was his bat that had kept him from progressing through the minor league ranks in his first three seasons. Zach was drafted as a skinny speed-demon from Staten Island, but has since bulked up to improve his hitting. After demonstrating a solid bat over an entire Double-A season, it seems likely that Granite will start next season at the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings, as long as he does well in spring training.
The Twins had high expectations going into 2016, but times have changed and it might be a promising immediate future for Zach. With the terrible defense that the Twins played in the outfield in 2016, they can only hope that Granite will handle the leap from Double-A to Triple-A well. If he does, you can expect him to get a call-up to the Twins sometime next year.