Coming Attraction: Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners, Shortstop

Franklin1It doesn’t take long for a team to reach down to the minors for help when a single position has combined to hit just .117/.198/.117 over 119 at-bats, without a single extra-base hit and just six RBI. The Seattle Mariners seem likely to give up on the stellar defense that Brendan Ryan provides to get a more complete player. Enter Nick Franklin.

In his minor league career, Nick Franklin has produced some impressive numbers, especially out of a middle infielder:

Year Age Tm Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2009 18 2 Teams Rk-A- 16 65 63 10 21 4 1 1 6 1 2 8 .333 .354 .476 .830 30
2009 18 Mariners Rk 10 44 43 6 13 2 0 1 4 0 1 6 .302 .318 .419 .737 18
2009 18 Everett A- 6 21 20 4 8 2 1 0 2 1 1 2 .400 .429 .600 1.029 12
2010 19 2 Teams A-AA 130 578 516 92 146 22 7 23 65 25 51 124 .283 .354 .486 .841 251
2010 19 Clinton A 129 574 513 89 144 22 7 23 65 25 50 123 .281 .351 .485 .837 249
2010 19 West Tenn AA 1 4 3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .667 .750 .667 1.417 2
2011 20 3 Teams A+-AA-Rk 88 401 352 64 99 13 7 7 26 18 37 80 .281 .352 .418 .770 147
2011 20 Mariners Rk 3 12 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 .091 .091 .091 .182 1
2011 20 High Desert A+ 64 297 258 50 71 10 5 5 20 13 31 56 .275 .356 .411 .767 106
2011 20 Jackson AA 21 92 83 13 27 3 2 2 6 5 6 18 .325 .371 .482 .853 40
2012 21 2 Teams AAA-AA 121 535 472 64 131 32 9 11 55 12 48 106 .278 .347 .453 .800 214
2012 21 Jackson AA 57 239 205 25 66 17 4 4 26 9 24 38 .322 .394 .502 .896 103
2012 21 Tacoma AAA 64 296 267 39 65 15 5 7 29 3 24 68 .243 .310 .416 .725 111
2013 22 Tacoma AAA 30 137 109 25 37 8 0 4 16 5 24 16 .339 .459 .523 .982 57
5 Seasons 385 1716 1512 255 434 79 24 46 168 61 162 334 .287 .360 .462 .822 699
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2013.

Franklin2Statistical Areas of Focus:

The numbers from 2010 jump out immediately. At just 19, Franklin ripped 23 home runs, smacked 22 doubles and seven triples, and stole 25 bases. You may expect those numbers out of a Mariners prospect at High Desert, the club’s High-A, California League affiliate, but not in the Midwest League. Those powerful numbers tend to be reserved for the Giancarlo Stanton-like players of the world in Low-A, like Miguel Sano this season.

Since 2010, though, Franklin has been all over the place. It seemed like the club may have rushed him to Double-A in 2011, but he held his own in a 21-game trial there, prior to opening the 2012 season back in Jackson. He posted solid gap power and was promoted to Triple-A at the tender age of 21. This season, Franklin is once again raking. While he doesn’t seem to have dynamic, game-changing power (as he previewed in 2010), he still has a major league bat and solid plate discipline, which seems to have taken a leap this season.

What to Watch For:

Franklin’s gap power would play well in Seattle and he would be a nice, switch-hitting addition to a predominantly left-handed lineup. He isn’t going to match Ryan’s defensive skills, but who cares when he could hit a home run or a double in his first game, something Mariners’ shortstops haven’t done yet this season. The Mariners need more offensive production, just ask Felix Hernandez.

Why the Mariners Need Franklin:

Franklin would immediately become an asset to the Mariners. He has been playing both shortstop and second base for Tacoma, so if he isn’t replacing Ryan, he could replace the struggling Dustin Ackley, as well. Franklin would become a must-add in AL-only league and dynasty league fantasy nerds, if they didn’t know about him already, would be wise to jump all over him now.

Franklin3When to Expect Franklin’s Arrival:

It could happen before I click the publish button, or the club could wait until mid-June to avoid any future arbitration issues. The sooner the better for Mariner fans and the ability for the club to win some games.

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