CHATTANOOGA, TENN. -- Former Seton Hall baseball standout Zack Granite (Staten Island, N.Y.) is in the midst of his best season as a professional. The speedy centerfielder is currently playing for the double-a affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Earlier this year, Granite made an early positive impression on the Twins brass in spring training. The outfielder was promoted to big league camp and saw action in spring training games, including a pinch hit appearance for former AL MVP Joe Mauer.
From there, Granite was assigned to the club's double-a affiliate in Chattanooga, where he remains a fixture atop of the batting order. To date, he is batting .292, which is second-best on the team among regulars and is the midst of a 13-game hit streak. Granite's 30 stolen bases lead the Lookouts and rank second in the Southern League. His 83 hits and 45 runs scored both rank third in the league.
Even Granite's power stroke has emerged since arriving in Chattanooga. He didn't have a single home run in three seasons as a collegian in South Orange, and belted only one in his first three seasons as a professional. This year however, Granite has four home runs, which ranks fourth-best on the team.
Granite was drafted in the 14th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Twins, just weeks after guiding the Pirates to a 37-19 record during his junior season. He was assigned to Minnesota's Rookie League team, the Elizabethton Twins in 2013 and batted .285 in 61 games while stealing 14 bases in 21 attempts. The following year, Granite was promoted to the club's single-a affiliate, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, where he batted .280, but had some injury setbacks.
In 2015, Granite was sent back to Cedar Rapids, and tore up the Midwest League. In a month on the single-a level, he batted .358 with seven stolen bases and 12 walks. His play earned him a promotion to the Fort Myers Miracle, the Twins' high-a affiliate. In Fort Myers, where he was reunited with former Seton Hall teammate Brian Gilbert, Granite batted .249 with 21 stolen bases in 105 games.
Prior to realizing his dream as a professional baseball player, Granite established himself as one of the top leadoff men in Seton Hall history. A starter in all 156 games he's played in a Pirates' uniform, he owned a career .299 batting average, 68 stolen bases and a .990 fielding percentage as Seton Hall's everyday centerfielder. As a freshman in 2011, he helped guide the Pirates to a BIG EAST Championship and NCAA Regional appearance.