There has been a bit of buzz this season about a particular minor leaguer in the Twins system. It’s not Nick Gordon or Stephen Gonsalvesm but rather a player that didn’t show up too often in prospect rankings, in MLB or in the Twins organization. In this regard, he reminds me of Brian Dozier who never rated as a top prospect until he started hitting for average in the minors, and again in the Arizona Fall League. Perhaps the Twins have found a diamond in the rough once again.
I’m talking about outfield prospect Zack Granite, who was originally noted for his fleet feet (he stole 56 bases last season at AA) is making waves this year for his preposterous .365 batting average. That huge batting average is undoubtedly a product of his .401 BABIP, but actually, he’s always had a remarkable BABIP, at every level. He’s really, really fast!
Speedsters are always going to reach base at a higher clip of balls in play, because they beat out more throws to first. Granite also has the advantage of rarely striking out. This is his first season at AAA, and he is striking out only at a 10% rate. He puts a lot of balls in play, and manages to beat out a lot of throws. This is a sustainable formula, albeit a bit outsized right now.
He has many of the same skills as Byron Buxton, the speed and defense in particular. When he gets called up, a the comparisons will be inevitable. Keep in mind, though, that Granite is older than Buxton, and does not hit for any power, so Granite, despite what he brings to the table, will not be the superior player in the long run. Perhaps Granite’s command of the strike zone and ability to put balls in play will rub off on the more acclaimed prospect.
Offense aside, an outfield with Granite and Buxton would be incredible to watch. It would be a pitcher’s dream come through. Buxton’s pop and Granite’s ability to get on base would be icing on the cake. It will probably be happening soon.