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Mark Minicozzi

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Mark Minicozzi

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Infielder Mark Minicozzi has played in the minor leagues since 2005 (except for one year missed due to surgery) but did not reach AAA until 2014.

He hit .262/.329/.393 as a college freshman then improved to .342/.419/.550 with 62 runs in 64 games as a sophomore. He tied for 8th in Conference USA in runs. He produced at a .319/.398/.471 clip with 45 RBI in 52 contests as a junior and did not make the conference top 10 in any area. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 17th round of the 2005 amateur draft (and signed by Pat Portugal) and began his professional career that year. Playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, he hit .321/.411/.428 with 78 hits and 35 walks in 70 games. He was among the Northwest League leaders in average (4th, between Pablo Sandoval and Reed Eastley), OBP (4th, between Travis Becktel and Mike Paulk) and walks (tied for 4th with Phillip Cuadrado). He fielded .973 at second base. He did not make the NWL All-Star team as Luis Valbuena got the nod.

He hit .282/.345/.360 with 70 runs, 140 hits and 77 RBI in 128 games for the San Jose Giants in 2006 while fielding .980 at second. He had a strong winter with the Waikiki Beach Boys (.280/.363/.475 in a pitcher's league). He was among the Hawaii Winter Baseball leaders in average (9th, between Rodney Choy Foo and Dexter Fowler), homers (4, tied for second with Choy Foo, Cole Garner and John Whittleman, one behind Yasushi Iihara), doubles (9, tied for second with John Mayberry Jr., one behind Will Venable), RBI (24, 1st, one ahead of Venable), hits (33, 3rd behind Nyjer Morgan and Choy Foo), extra-base hits (14, tied for first with Choy Foo), runs (24, 2nd, one behind Morgan) and slugging (3rd behind Mayberry and Choy Foo). He was named the loop's All-Star third baseman.

In 2007, he hit .237/.301/.336 in 96 games split between San Jose and the Connecticut Defenders while battling wrist injuries. He did not play in 2008 after Tommy John surgery and was let go by the Giants. He latched on in independent ball for 2009. He signed with the Kansas City T-Bones and hit only .242/.286/.427 in 57 games while battling back injuries. He was traded to the Winnipeg Goldeyes late in the year for future considerations; he batted .205/.234/.273 in 14 games.

He began 2010 with the Camden Riversharks, going 2 for 10. He then moved to the Worcester Tornadoes of the Can-Am League and rebounded, as he hit .317/.384/.483 with 51 hits, 9 home runs and 37 RBI. He was 5th in average (between Matt Nandin and Ivan Naccarata), 8th in OBP (between Daniel Carte and Jabe Bergeron), earning a spot on the All-Star squad as the third baseman (the other infielders were 1B Melvin Falu, 2B Danny Bomback and SS Nandin). Returning to Worcester for 2011 following back surgery, he hit .328/.401/.523 with 15 home runs, 77 RBI and 60 runs scored in 86 games. He was 7th in average (between Myron Leslie and Sébastien Boucher), tied for 6th in OBP, 9th in OPS, 9th in hits (106), tied with John Welch for 6th in dingers, 4th in RBI (trailing Keith Brachold, Chris Colabello and Angel Molina) and 9th in total bases (between Bomback and Alex Trezza). He also fielded .970 at the hot corner. He again earned a spot on the All-Star team, joining teammate and 1B Colabello, 2B Bomback and SS Dominic Ramos as the infielders picked.

Minicozzi then played for the Orientales de Granada of the Nicaraguan Professional Baseball League. In May 2012, he was getting ready for the Can-Am season start when he decided to go see the Richmond Flying Squirrels, who were playing 35 miles from his home in Wayne, PA. He knew Richmond manager Dave Machemer from his time in the Giants chain. When he showed up to watch the game, Richmond was having depth issues at 1B. Machemer asked Minicozzi to try out. He impressed hitting coach Ken Joyce and Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans had the team sign Minicozzi, five years since he had last played in the affiliated minors.

The Giants first sent Minicozzi to the Augusta Greenjackets and he hit .250/.317/.442 in 15 games there. He was then called up to Richmond, where he batted .284/.356/.436 in 18 games and was the team's most-used first baseman, also seeing action at 2B, 3B, RF, LF and DH. He then played for the Indios del Bóer in Nicaragua. In 2013, he hit .309/.400/.445 with 10 home runs, 66 RBI, 30 doubles and 74 runs scored in 128 games for Richmond. He was second in the Eastern League in average (17 points behind Cesar Puello; the Giants Media Guide lists him as the leader, using different qualifying criteria than milb.com), fourth in OBP (between Josmil Pinto and Kyle Hudson), fourth in OPS (between Javier Herrera and Caleb Joseph), tied with Joseph for 10th in runs and tied James McCann and Josh Rodriguez for 6th in doubles. He set a new franchise record for average. He was named the EL All-Star team at third base, his third All-Star nod in four years. He joined 1B Allan Dykstra, 2B Hernan Perez and SS Danny Santana as the EL All-Star infielders. In winter ball, he hit .351/.413/.453 with 11 RBI in 15 games for the Aguilas del Zulia, backing up former MVP Ernesto Mejia at 1B.

Minicozzi made lots of new in spring training 2014 after a hot start (6 for 16, 3 BB, 2 HR), thanks to his age and winding path to Giants camp. He finished spring on a slower note, hitting .238/.313/.381 overall. He began 2014 with the Fresno Grizzlies.

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