It 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:
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.
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.