Greg Halman, of Born: Aug. 26, 1987. B-T: R-R. HT: 6-4. WT: 192.
Halman's father Eduardo played professionally in Holland into his mid-30s, and Greg knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in baseball. He turned pro in 2003 at age 16, when he joined Hoofdklasse Honkbal, or the Dutch Major League. The Twins signed him that year, but the contract later was voided. As a 17-year-old first baseman in 2004, Halman earned MVP honors in the Dutch league while nearly winning its triple crown. He signed with the Mariners for $130,000 that June. After an encouraging U.S. debut in 2005, he played just 28 games in 2006 because he broke his right hand in an on-field brawl. He voiced his displeasure with a 2007 Opening Day assignment to low Class A Wisconsin, thinking he had played well enough in a few big league spring-training games to move further up the system. Instead of making a case for promotion, he sulked and hit just .182 before earning a demotion to short-season Everett in June. Humbled by experiencing failure for the first time, he led the short-season Northwest League in slugging (.597) while finishing second in homers (16)—and strikeouts (85). Halman started putting it all together in 2008, hitting .272/.326/.528 and advancing to Double-A West Tenn, where at age 20 he was the Southern League's youngest regular position player. Halman hit 29 home runs and stole 31 bases, narrowly missing becoming the minors' only 30-30 player since Terry Evans in 2006.