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Published On: February 17th, 2015

A Look at Chinooks in the Minor Leagues

Zack Granite – Minnesota Twins – GCL Twins (Rookie)

GraniteHeadshotZack Granite has already experienced how difficult the road to the major leagues can be for a young player. Drafted out of Seton Hall in 2013 by the Minnesota Twins in the 14th round, the speedy outfielder used his trademark speed to earn Appalachian League all-star honors in 2013 with the Elizabethton Twins as he led the league in at-bats, tied for third in hits and stolen bases, and ranked fifth in runs scored. Granite’s experience at Seton Hall with varying playing conditions and multiple postponements paid off in the typically rainy summers of the Appy League where nothing seemed to damper the excitement Granite felt on draft day. Zack’s experience–as chronicled in this video–fueled his outstanding season with the Twins and set the stage for what many believe could lead to Granite fulfilling his dream of making it to the Major Leagues.

Avoiding injury and recovering from injury are often determining factors for players working their way up the career ladder in professional baseball. That realization hit Granite head on in the summer of 2014 as his toughness was tested with an injury-laced season for the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels. Granite was hoping and expecting to make a major jump in 2014, but hurt his shoulder diving for a ball and then tore his quadriceps muscle later in the year. As he battled through the injuries, Granite’s best qualities of speed and putting pressure on the defense that he displayed in his 25 games with the Chinooks in 2012 when he had 22 hits, scored 23 runs, and stole 16 bases, remained hidden. Chinooks’ GM Dean Rennicke recalls, “Zack was a disruptor with his speed. He was a perfect fit for our first year, but then got injured and had to leave us early.” That same scenario played out in Cedar Rapids. Gone were the high on-base percentages and stolen bases as Granite’s injuries limited him to a total of 21 games of the 142 game Class A season in which he hit .280 and scored nine runs. After dealing with the injuries, Granite was assigned to play in four final games with the Twins Gulf Coast League Rookie team in Florida, but was obviously not his disruptive self.

Granite’s primary goal during the offseason focused on his health, saying “I ended the season banged up from injuries, so I have been working out and focusing on my body to make sure I start this season healthy.”  

Zack Granite -BattingGranite at the plate for the Cedar Rapids Kernels

On March 10, Granite will head to Fort Meyers, FL for the Twins spring training camp where he hopes to re-ignite his career. “I'm excited to get back to the warm weather and back to playing baseball every day. Unfortunately, I do not know where I will be placed. As long as I'm playing baseball I’ll be happy.” Happiness was something Granite experienced in college as he led the Pirates to a Big East Championship in 2011 and in his time with the Chinooks. “The Chinooks are first class. Those guys do a fantastic job over there with everything. I was very happy I got a chance to play with the Chinooks,” says Granite.

Hopefully, the excitement the kid from Staten Island, NY created on the base paths of Kapco Park will return and the city kid playing his days in the minor leagues of the Midwest will get back to his role of igniting the Twins at whatever level he finds himself, but to do that he has to stay healthy.