Pick 137: Mariners select Jesse Franklin, OF Michigan
Jesse Franklin was the best prep player in the state of Washington in 2017, but a strong commitment to the Michigan Wolverines caused him to fall to the 37th round, where he was selected by his home town Seattle Mariners. Franklin arrived on campus in Ann Arbor and immediately produced, showing first-round pedigree in 2018.
But he took a slight step back in 2019 and after a skiing accident left him with a broken collarbone, he didn’t get to see the field in 2020 before the shutdown. The two versions of himself that Franklin showed in his two seasons with Michigan represent the potential upside of his skill set.
In 2018 he was a more rounded player who showed above-average power and good contact skills. In 2019, he sold out for more power and became more of a true, three outcome player at the plate. At his best, Franklin is an average bat with good pitch recognition skills and enough power to be an everyday outfielder, but his above-average speed hasn’t translated to the base paths or defensively. His arm and poor fundamentals in the outfield make him an ideal fit for left field, not center field, which will also hurt his value on draft day.
Franklin is a fringe-draftable player in this year’s abbreviated draft, so he could return to school if he feels like he can improve his stock. But the idea of playing for his home town team and locking down $400,000 in signing bonuses isn’t a bad route to take.
Well, there we have it. Another mock draft is in the books. This time around, we went slightly over-slot with picks 43 and 108, while going under slot at 64 and 76, but managed to wrangle up a potential ace, a true shortstop with good potential at the plate, two #4 starters or middle relievers, a future centerfielder with top of the order upside, and an athletic left fielder with legitimate left-handed power and the possibility to hit for average. Overall, this would be a solid draft class.