Seattle Mariners Prospect Greg Halman Murdered in the Netherlands
The big news in baseball today is the murder of Seattle Mariners outfield prospect Greg Halman.
Halman was allegedly stabbed to death by his younger brother Jason, who is in police custody in Rotterdam.
Obviously this is an awful tragedy, especially for the Halman family who essentially lost two sons today. Grief wouldn't begin to describe the emotions that must be involved. We at Minor League Ball and SB Nation extend our sincerest condolences to everyone impacted by this tragic event.
Here is a look at the career of Greg Halman and a few personal thoughts.
Halman was signed by the Mariners out of the Netherlands in 2004. An outstanding athlete, he impressed scouts with his explosive raw power and speed combination. He was extremely raw, however, and had significant issues with strike zone judgment. He first came to prominence by hitting .307/.371/.597 with 16 homers and 16 steals in 238 at-bats for Everett in the Northwest League in 2007, although he also struck out 85 times.
In 2008 he hit .268/.320/.572 with 19 homers and 23 steals in 67 games for High-A High Desert, followed by a .277/.332/.481 mark with 10 homers and eight steals in 61 games for Double-A West Tennessee. Scouts felt he was starting to get a handle on his talent, although strike zone judgment remained a big issue with 139 whiffs and just 32 walks on the season. He had severe contact problems in 2009, hitting just .210 with 183 strikeouts in Double-A, although he hit 25 homers.
Moved up to Triple-A in 2010, Halman hit .243/.310/.545 with 33 homers and 15 steals, but just 37 walks with 169 strikeouts. The scouting reports remained the same: he was a terrific athlete, but was still feeling his way around the strike zone. He made his major league debut in '10 by going 4-for-29 (.138) with 11 strikeouts.
In 2011 Halman hit .299/.358/.441 with 53 strikeouts in 177 at-bats for Triple-A Tacoma, and .2230/.256/.345 in 87 at-bats for the Mariners, with two homers, two walks, five steals, and 32 strikeouts. He turned 24 years old in late August, and while his problems with plate discipline were clearly hampering his production, he remained one of the most intriguing, if confounding, prospects in baseball. I saw him play several times in Triple-A. His talent was obvious and he seemed to play with joy, even when he was struggling.
Halman spoke four languages: English, Dutch, Spanish, and Papiamento.
It is useless to speculate on what might have been on the field. Much more importantly, it should serve as a reminder that Greg Halman was not just a phantom flitting across TV screens and computer monitors. He was not a mere number generator for our fantasy teams.
He was a flesh-and-blood human being with a body and mind and people who loved him, and his life ended much too soon.