Has averaged RBI per every 6.1 ML ABs, driving in 79 runs in 482 at-bats...in fact, collected more RBI in 2005 than any Giants rookie in 20 seasons...has logged 184 ML contests, batting .249 with 26 2Bs and 17 HRs...owns lifetime .290 mark (38-for-131) with RISP...despite being under .500 as club last 2 years, SF is 57-48 (.543) in his 105 starts during span...however, has been beset by injuries throughout career, averaging only 95 games per season over his 6 professional campaigns...has compiled .311 avg. with 248 RBI in 382 career minor league games...has logged 194 career minor league contests at 3rd base and 153 outings at 1st base, but has played solely on right side of diamond with Giants.
Graduated from George Jenkins (Lakeland, FL) High School in 1997...attended Florida Southern (Lakeland, FL) University, where he earned 3rd-team All-America honors as junior in 2000...was named MVP of Cape Cod League in summer of 1999...is son of late Joe Niekro, former Major League great, who pitched for Cubs, Padres, Tigers, Braves, Astros, Yankees and Twins from 1967-88...is also nephew of Hall of Famer Phil Niekro...single.
A Giant in the Community:
Has traveled to San Francisco and lent time for KNBR/ Giants Winter FanFest...supported Giants Wives' 2005 on-line auction by donating "Meet A Giant" experience package, in which he and Noah Lowry met with fans in SF dugout at AT&T Park.
SF's Opening Day 1st baseman was relatively productive when healthy, but was again felled by injuries...averaged RBI per 6.4 ABs, while batting .295 (18-for-61) with RISP...Giants were 28-20 (.583) in his 48 starts (all at 1B), as he batted .250 (46-for-184) with 5 HRs and 30 RBI...landed on Disabled List twice, being shelved May 20-30 with right shoulder bursitis, and again June 13-28 with right groin strain...was also on Bereavement List April 17-19 following death of maternal grandfather...produced 1st career multi-HR game May 30 at Florida, after being activated from DL prior to game...finished contest 3-for-5, with solo clouts off Marlins' Brian Moehler and Joe Borowski...recorded career-high 4 RBI June 5 vs. Florida, going 2-for-5 with 3B...endured 8-for-39 (.205) slump June 9-July 15, and was optioned to triple-A Fresno July 16...battered Pacific Coast League pitching to tune of .319 avg. (46-for-144) with 14 HRs and 34 RBI in 36 games...was recalled when rosters expanded, but was just 4-for-18 (.222) with HR and 2 RBI.
Although he was not on Opening Day roster, was recalled from triple-A Fresno April 8 to take roster spot of disabled Moises Alou...logged 1st full ML campaign and registered 46 RBI, most by Giants rookie since Robby Thompson had 47 in 1986...collected RBI every 6.04 at-bats (278 total ABs), while Dave Kingman established SF freshman mark with RBI every 5.69 ABs in 1972...belted 12 HRs, tied for 5th among NL rookies...also ranked among senior circuit freshman leaders in RBI (T5th), slugging (5th - .460), 3Bs (T4th - 3) and extra-base hits (7th - 31)...of his 11 HRs, 9 came off left-handed pitching (tied for 8th in NL)...in fact, hit at .324 clip (35-for-108) off southpaw hurlers...avg. dipped to .206 (35-for-170) against right-handers...collected 9 RBI as pinch-hitter, most by Giant since Shawon Dunston also drove in 9 in 2001...also led club with 10 pinch-hits (in 41 at-bats, .243)...made 57 starts at 1st base, helping Giants to 29-28 (.509) mark with .253 avg. (55-for-217) with 12 HRs and 34 RBI in opening role...however, did nearly all of his damage prior to All-Star Break...hit .297 (49-for-165) in 61 1st half games, while his 10 HRs marked most by SF freshman before All-Star Break since Chili Davis also belted 10 in 1982...although he was never on Disabled List, was hampered by nagging injuries in 2nd Half...batted just .186 (21-for-113) with 2 HRs and 12 RBI in 52 contests (26 starts) following Mid-Summer Classic.
Got late start to season after suffering ankle injury during Spring Training opener March 4...however rebounded to tie for 7th in SF organization with .301 avg. (91-for-302) while setting career highs with 55 runs, 28 2Bs, 5 3Bs, 13 HRs and 61 RBI...opened season at single-A San Jose and batted .311 (19-for-61) with 13 runs, 7 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 HR and 14 RBI over just 15 contests...moved up to triple-A Fresno May 20 and quickly provided Grizzlies with offensive production, hitting safely in 20 of his 1st 22 games with .378 avg. (34-for-90)...overall for Grizzlies, hit .298 (72-for-242) with 42 runs, 21 2Bs, 4 3Bs, 12 HRs and 47 RBI in 67 games...split time on both corners of infield, logging 34 games at 1st base and 24 contests at 3rd...following season, hit .295 (18-for-61) with HR and 15 RBI in 17 games for Grand Canyon in Arizona Fall League.
Logged 1st foray at triple-A level, batting .302 with 15 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 4 HRs and 41 RBI in career-high 98 games with Fresno...ranked 4th among SF farmhands for avg...was recalled by Giants Sept. 1 and made ML debut Sept. 5 vs. Arizona, entering game in 9th at 1st base and flying out in lone at-bat...collected 1st big league hit and RBI in regular season finale Sept. 28 vs. LA, drilling 2-run 2B off Dodgers' Paul Shuey...was honored as Fresno's Player of Month after hitting .340 (33-for-97) in June and then again for his .331 output (39-for-118) in August...saw action on both sides of diamond with Grizzlies, logging 76 games as 3rd baseman and 17 contests as 1st baseman...played in 20 Arizona Fall League games for Grand Canyon, batting .299 (23-for-77).
Saw 1st action at double-A level, spending campaign with Shreveport...excelled at plate, hitting .310 with 20 2Bs, 4 HRs and 34 RBI in 79 games...struck out just 32 times in 310 plate appearances...hit safely in 55 of his 79 games, including 29 multi-hit contests...was hitting robust .455 (15-for-33) over 9 July contests before season was ended due to fractured radius in left hand...defensively, began season at 3rd base but was shifted across diamond to 1st base in early May...was errorless at 1st base, playing 50 games and fielding 439 total chances without miscue...batted .313 (30-for-96) with 5 2Bs, 2 3Bs and 16 RBI in 24 games for Grand Canyon in Arizona Fall League.
Had season cut short due to right shoulder surgery...was off to strong start with single-A San Jose, hitting .288 with 11 2Bs, 3 HRs and 34 RBI...suffered injury May 15...returned to action June 5 and appeared in 10 games as Designated Hitter...hit .366 with 4 2Bs and 11 RBI during that stretch before being placed on Disabled List June 27...had shoulder scoped by Dr. Gary Fanton in San Francisco...despite injuries, was still voted as Best Defensive 3B by California League managers in Baseball America
's annual Tools of the Trade poll.
Opened professional career with rookie-league Salem-Keizer and earned Northwest League All-Star status...led circuit with .362 batting avg. and .551 slugging mark...his .404 on-base pct. tied for 4th best in league...also earned Salem-Keizer's co-Player of Month honors for August...was NWL Player of Week Aug. 7-13.