Nick Franklin, SS, Jackson Generals (AA, 24.4 years old on average in 2011)
6-1, 170 lbs, 20 years old
Bats: Both, Throws: Right
Acquired: 2009 Amateur Draft (1st round)
When reviewing Brad Miller I said that I think he will be the best option in the Mariners farm system to eventually replace Brendan Ryan. But Franklin is two years younger, and considered a better defender at the shortstop position. We saw huge jumps in his batting ability in 2010, as he OPS’d .837 in Clinton with 23 home runs and 52 extra base hits. That took a bit of a step back last year, as he didn’t take full advantage of a promotion to High Desert, where balls fly out of the park like flies away from Franklin Gutierrez fly swatters (one of my favorite souvenirs). He bounced back quite a bit after receiving a late-season promotion to Jackson, where he OPS’d .853, though he benefited greatly from an unsustainable .397 BABIP. The power wasn’t there though, he hit only seven home runs and 13 doubles. One of the reasons why Franklin’s struggles aren’t as worrisome, is that he’s presently attempting to remain a switch-hitter. It doesn’t seem likely something that he’ll continue for his career, and he’s really been destroyed by lefties to this point in his brief career. However, last year against righties Franklin hit .300/.374/.453 against right-handed pitchers, though his .381 BABIP righties probably isn’t very sustainable. It’s crazy to think that a 20 year old is amid a make or break season, but considering the kind of shortstop prospects in the Mariners system, Franklin is likely to be passed up quickly if he has another so-so year while another shortstop prospect improves.
Potential (of 40): 36
Probability of Success (of 30):16
Positional value (of 20): 19
Character (of 10): 10
Check out the rest of the Mariners Top 25 Prospects.