Nick Franklin has now played in seven games for the Mariners and, all things considered, he has done a very good job. I say this based on only seven games and of course sample sizes come into play. But what I see from Franklin’s first week is very promising for his future at SS or 2B at the big league level. Here is a quick brief on Franklin, for those who are unaware of what skills he possesses, if you already know about Franklin then by all means skip this paragraph.
He is a switch-hitting middle-infielder, which in-and-of-itself is rare and awesome. He also has hit for some power, which is surprising because he probably weighs 160 pounds dripping wet with his cleats and glove on. His 2012 season is a good microcosm of his skills and faults. In Jackson he hit .322/.392/.502 with a 10% BB rate and 15.9% K rate. When he was promoted to AAA Tacoma he hit .243/.310./416 with a 8.1% BB rate and a 23% K rate. He has solid contact and on base skills but has struggled with K’s in his career and has to clean that up at the MLB level.
What has impressed me the most about Franklin so far is his patience. Often we see prospects called up and they struggle with the strike zone (Carlos Peguero, Carlos Triunfel). So far Franklin has walked twice as much as he has struck out, an awesome stat. While I doubt this is sustainable, as long as Franklin can keep his K rate near his BB rate, he will be a successful hitter. He also hit two home runs in one game, which is pretty awesome. His defense will not be as good as Brendan Ryan’s, and probably not as good as Dustin Ackley’s, but Franklin can hit. And from what we saw of Dustin Ackley this year, Franklin can currently do it better than both Ackley and Ryan.
I will come back and visit this issue later when Franklin has more AB’s and the splits are more defined, but he is a switch hitter so its worth looking at how he is doing against righties and lefties. He has 7 AB’s from the right side and has gone 2/7 with 2 singles and 1 K. From the left side, Franklin has gone 3/13 with 2 HR’s, 4 BB’s and 1 K. I really wish I could provide some analysis, but this is still just something to monitor as a fan. Historically, Franklin has featured more power from the right side, but better contact skills from the left. We will check in on this in a month or so.
It is hard to say Nick Franklin has had an unsuccessful debut. He has more than 0 hits, unlike Carlos Triunfel, and has shown some power and patience, a deadly combination. Does this mean I am calling Franklin to be the next Alex Rodriguez? Nope, there have only been 20 AB’s so I am not going to predict anything. But take heart Mariner fans, one of our prospects isn’t actually doing terrible at the major-league level.