Anthony Nicholas Granato
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 200 lb.
Anthony Granato played six seasons in the minor leagues.
Granato split his first pro season, 2004, between the Boise Hawks (.268/.418/.392, 27 R in 29 G) and Lansing Lugnuts (.269/.365/.352 in 32 G). In '05, he batted .283/.385/.402 for the Peoria Chiefs and .266/.363/.269 for the Daytona Cubs. Overall, he stole 24 bases in 31 tries and drew 61 walks. With Peoria, he played at least ten games at each infield position.
Anthony moved to the Colorado Rockies system in 2006 but hit only .213/.366/.302 for the Modesto Nuts, ending his Organized Baseball career. The Canadian infielder moved to the independent leagues and feasted on that lighter competition. With the 2007 Atlantic City Surf, he hit .329/.458/.500 with 29 steals in 37 attempts, 72 walks and 77 runs in 86 contests. He was 5th in the Can-Am League in average. He was named the loop's All-Star third baseman.
In 2008, Granato played for the Surf (.322/.429/.537, 31 SB, 7 CS, 83 R in 93 G) and the Somerset Patriots (.364/.475/.485 in 10 G). He was 9th in the Can-Am in average and second in runs. He won All-Star honors again, this time at shortstop. The next year, the 28-year-old fell to .248/.377/.355 with Somerset but did have 79 walks, 77 runs and 42 stolen bases while only being thrown out running three times. He was third in the Atlantic League in free passes.
Granato signed with T&A San Marino for 2010, replacing longtime shortstop Seth La Fera. He starred for the team in the Rotterdam round of the 2010 European Cup. He had four hits in the opener against the Hoboken Pioneers, another four hits against the Marlins Puerto Cruz, had three hits in a loss to Telemarket Rimini and scored three runs against the Savigny Lions. He led the Rotterdam round of the Cup in average (.583, .112 ahead of Stephen De Lannoy), slugging (1.083, .333 over Mario Chiarini), OBP (.630, .080 ahead of De Lannoy), runs (11, two more than Chiarini), hits (14, four ahead of ageless David Sheldon), triples (3), homers (2, tied with Riccardo Suardi), total bases (26, 11 more than Chiarini) and steals (5, two ahead of De Lannoy, Gene Kingsale and Raily Legito). He tied for second in RBI (7, even with Suardi and Sheldon and behind Clinton Balgera). He somehow lost MVP honors to Danny Gonzalez. At the time, Anthony was working on getting Italian citizenship so he could play for the Italian national team. He hit .288/.381/.392 for the regular season for San Marino. His 17 steals (in 23 tries) were second in the Italian Baseball League, behind veteran Manny Alexander. He also tied Eddy Garabito for fourth in runs (32).
Granato got Italian citizenship in time to play in both the 2010 European Championship and 2010 Intercontinental Cup. In the former event, he helped Italy win its first Gold at a European Championship in 13 years. Hitting second behind Stefano De Simoni and starting at short, he hit .424/.548/.788 with 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 9 walks, 14 runs, 12 RBI and 3 steals in nine games. Among his top performances included outings against Spain (3 runs in his debut for the Azzurri), Great Britain (3 for 5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI), Croatia (4 RBI), Germany (2 for 3, 2 BB, 2 SB, 2 R, RBI) and the first game against the Netherlands (3 for 3, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 2 runs, RBI). In the Gold Medal game, he was 0 for 2 but walked three times, stole a base and scored a run in Italy's 8-4 win over the Netherlands. In the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, he did not do as well, going 5 for 27 with 4 walks, a triple, 3 runs, 2 RBI, 2 steals in 3 tries and 2 errors. In the Bronze Medal game, he was 0 for 5 from the leadoff slot but scored a run after reaching on a Yen-Wen Kuo error (Mario Chiarini drove him home). Italy won 4-3 for their only Medal ever at an Intercontinental Cup.
His second season with San Marino, the Canadian improved to .315/.415/.491 with 15 doubles, 33 runs, 21 steals (only caught twice) and 25 walks. He was among the IBL leaders in runs (5th), hits (52, tied for third with Brandon Chaves), doubles (tied for second with Juan Carlos Infante, trailing Olmo Rosario), walks (tied for 10th) and steals (first, 5 ahead of Rosario). He was MVP of the 2011 Italian Series, going 11 for 29 with 7 runs, 3 home runs and 9 RBI in six games to lead San Marino to their second Italian title.