Chinooks in the Minors: Zack Granite
A look at how Lakeshore Chinook alumni performed throughout baseball in 2016!
Grafton, WI – With several former Chinook players rising through the ranks of their MLB organizations, Zack Granite, a member of Lakeshore’s opening year roster in 2012, quietly made a breakthrough of his own in 2016 as a member of the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts. Selected by the Twins in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB draft, Granite found his groove in Chattanooga as a Southern League All-Star in a season in which he stole a league-high 56 bases and produced 155 hits, also tops in the league. He also ranked second in the league with 86 runs scored and third with a .295 batting average. Most impressively, however, Granite struck out just 43 times to lead the league with a 13.58 plate appearances per strikeout ratio.
The speedy outfielder from Seton Hall is always looking to run, but for the first year has focused on driving the ball rather than just slapping to the opposite field. That got the attention of the Twins’ front office as the franchise tabbed him as their 2016 Position Player of the Year. Twins’ manager Paul Molitor told the Pioneer Press, “He’s aggressive, got a little moxie . . . likes to get dirty, run the bases. He’s finding a way to use what he can do in a game to make an impact. I know we don’t like facing those kinds of guys.” Recently, the Twins designated Granite to their 40-man roster, a move which hopefully sets the table for the 17th-rated prospect in the Southern League to make a push to be the first Chinook to reach the majors.
As the offseason continues, Granite is taking it in stride and knows he has to continue to progress. He recently took time to answer a few questions for the fans at Lakeshore:
Where and how are you spending the offseason?
I am currently taking classes in my last semester of college at Seton Hall University and I live in New Jersey.
What is a typical day like in the offseason?
I go to school five days a week and my class schedule is different every day, but I usually lift after class and do some sort of baseball activity, whether its hitting or throwing – just to stay active. On Sundays, I usually go home and watch football with my parents and my brother. We are big football fans and my mom makes a great Sunday dinner!
What does it mean to be on the Twins’ 40-man roster?
It is a huge honor. I am extremely thankful for the Twins organization for putting me on the 40 man roster. It is a great start but obviously it is not the main goal. Being on the 40 man is a big step but it does not mean I will be in the big leagues. The big league roster holds 25 guys. There is an additional 15 guys in the minors that they can call up at any time. You have to be on the 40 man to get called up to the big leagues. It can be very confusing, but it’s good to get added to the 40 man roster!
What have been the biggest challenges for you in minor league baseball?
My biggest challenge would have to be being away from my family for such a long time. I am very close with them and I miss a lot of their birthdays and events with them, so it is always tough to see pictures of them celebrating and I cannot be there.
Do you intend to finish school?
Yes, I am less than a month away from graduating with a degree in criminal justice from Seton Hall University
What has to happen for you to make it to the big league club?
That decision is not up to me. I only worry about the things I can control and that is to bring my energy and game to the field every single day. I let the rest play out as it may.
What is the best advice or criticism you have received from anyone in the Twins’ system?
The best advice and criticism I ever had was from my manager Doug Mientkiewicz. He told me to stop slapping at the ball and learn how to drive the ball and I really feel that this has helped me out and has taken my game to the next level.
As Granite prepares, Chinook fans will watch patiently to see if he has what it takes to get the call the Show!
To follow the progress of any of the Lakeshore alums who are playing professional baseball, click on the Alumni tab under the Team section at the top of this page. Click on a specific player’s name to open a link to view their MLB bio page.
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.lakeshorechinooks.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Chinooks as your favorite team.