Twins Prospect Zack Granite on His Success at Triple-A

Zack Granite is hitting the ball as hard as anyone in Triple-A. Not in terms of power — the 24-year-old Minnesota Twins prospect is a slasher, not a basher — but the line drives have been coming fast and furious. Granite leads the International League in batting average by a whopping 30 points. Jump-starting the Rochester Red Wings’ offense out of the lead-off spot, the left-handed-hitting outfielder is slashing .349/.404/.494.

When Eric Longenhagen profiled Granite in his Twins top-prospect list, he wrote that “his ability to play center field well, run, and put the bat on the ball, points toward a near-certain big-league role of some kind.” When (and if) that comes to fruition is yet to be determined, but the 2013 14th-round pick out of Seton Hall University is making a case for it to happen soon. Since June 2, Granite is 37 for 75, with nine doubles, three triples, a home run, and 11 walks.

Granite talked about his game — and tossed a few playful jabs in the direction of one of his teammates — when Rochester visited Pawtucket over the weekend.

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Granite on an adjustment that’s helped fuel his surge: “I’ve moved a little closer to the plate. I think that has kind of helped me see pitches better. A lot of pitches away that were strikes, I was taking. That’s my game — going the other way — so I was kind of getting away from my game. I also just feel really good at the plate right now, which is obviously helping a lot.

“Opposite field is my security blanket, but I’m getting better at pulling the ball. I worked on that a lot last year with my manager, Doug [Mientkiewicz]. I’d always been ‘stick to left, stick to left,’ and he helped me learn how to pull the ball — how to attack it the right way. That’s another repertoire, another factor, to my game now.”

On not going deep in college, and having just six home runs in 1,497 professional at-bats: “In my defense, we played at a really big field [at Seton Hall], and the wind always blew out to left, and in from right. That’s always been my excuse. I did hit a few fences there, though. There is some [sneaky power]. I’ve hit one home run this year, and I’m going to hopefully get that number up*. But honestly, I’m just glad I filled the column.”

*Granite hit his second home run of the season yesterday.

On having 56 stolen bases last year in Double-A and 16 so far this season: “Last year, they wanted me to run, every situation. It was pretty much, ‘Get in scoring position whenever you can.’ This year, it’s been a little bit different. I also had an [oblique strain] and missed the first month of the season. I played 127 games last year, and I don’t think I’m going to be making that. Plus, stolen bases are about situations. You can’t always run. If you’re up or down by a decent amount, the running game stops. I’ve shown I can do it, and right now I’m just running when I’m supposed to.”

On his defensive profile: “I’m a speed guy, and I’m in center, so I try to catch everything I can. At Seton Hall, we really took care of our defense. That was a big part of our game. We were a pitching-and-defense school, so it was really important that I’d always get good jumps. They kind of ingrained that into us, and I took that into my game here in pro ball.”

On similarities with Rochester teammate J.B. Shuck: “He’s kind of the same type of player as me — we’re both lefties and both outfielders — but he’s obviously a little older. I give him some stuff, because he doesn’t have as many stolen bases as me. He says it’s because of age. But he helps me out a lot. We long-toss together — he has a better arm than me — and I take tips from him. He’s a really good guy, although sometimes he gets in these moods. I make fun of him, because I’m 24 and his 30th birthday is coming up. I rub that in a little bit.”

On what it’s like to be on the doorstep of the big leagues: “That’s a hard question to answer — but it is cool. This is my first time in Triple-A, and it’s been a good experience thus far. Hopefully, whenever they call, I’m ready for it. But while it will be really exciting, and hopefully they’ll need me at some point, I try not to think about it. You have to play well to get called up, so I’m just trying to do my job.”

On if he’s surprised to be hitting .349 in Triple-A: “That’s a tough question, too. I guess the answer would have to be ‘no.’ I expect to get a hit every time I go up there. Right now I’m doing a good job, and hopefully I’ll keep doing a good job all year.”





David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from December 2006-May 2011 before being claimed off waivers by FanGraphs. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

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Ronsanto
5 years ago

We need Zack Granite and Rock Shoulders on the same team, STAT.

tz
5 years ago
Reply to  Ronsanto