Monday, March 20, 2017

Can Zach Granite Follow Brian Dozier's Footsteps?

Photo Credit: Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
Developing MLB players is a tough task for any organization. There are so many factors that can impact the development of a team's top tier talent. Through the ups-and-downs of a players professional career, there can be moments where everything clicks or moments that push a player away from the game.

When the Twins took Brian Dozier with an eighth round pick, the organization probably never imagined he would turn into a hitter capable of belting 40 home runs. Now the Twins have another late round pick that is starting to blossom in the Twins system.

Can Zach Granite follow Brian Dozier's footsteps?

As a 24-year old, Dozier split the 2011 season between High-A and Double-A. He hit .320/.399/.491 with 54 extra-base hits in 127 games. He was almost a year and a half older than the competition in the Florida State League so it was tough to fit him into the Twins prospect picture. Because of the numbers he accumulated, the club would name him the 2011 Twins Minor League Player of the Year.

Granite was taken in the 14th round on the 2013 MLB Draft. He spent all of the his age-23 season in the Lookouts' outfield. He hit .295/.347/.729 with 30 extra-base hits in 127 games. His 56 stolen bases were the most steals by any minor league player last year. He was a year younger than the competition in the Southern League. Like Dozier before him, Granite was awarded the 2016 Twins Minor League Player of the Year. 

"He's one guy I was looking forward to watching play," Paul Molitor told the Star Tribune. "He's coming off a really good year with a lot of people speaking really highly of him. I like those kind of players. There's a place for those guys."

There are some notable differences between Granite and Dozier. Dozier came up through the Twins system as a shortstop but was never strong enough to stay at that position. Granite's speed has seen him play the majority of his professional career in center field. Dozier is still a below average defender and Granite has the potential to be above average. 

Both players have a very different approach at the plate. Dozier has developed into one of the best power hitting infielders in baseball. Granite wants to put the ball in play and use his speed to his advantage. His speed and defensive ability should help him fit into the big league line-up in the near future.

"I don't care who's on the mound, I think I can hit anybody," Granite said. "I've got the confidence to be here. Playing scared, that's not my game. I believe I belong, so hopefully somebody else does, too."

Granite will never be a big home run hitter. However, he's on a path to go from being a late-round pick to a MLB regular. This type of late round find needs to continue to happen if Minnesota is going to get back to respectability in the American League.

When will Granite make an impact on the big league squad? What type of MLB player do you think he will be? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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