The Mariners equipment staff may be busy this year letting out Franklin’s pants and jersey.
Maybe it is the time that we live in, and the way that baseball is now, but when I heard that Nick Franklin had added 34 lbs this offseason, my mind went to the worst place. Tell me how many times you’ve heard this before:
“______ gained some 30 lbs of muscle this offseason.”
“______ has shown up on a list of customers for some pharmacy front.”
“______ has tested positive for a banned substance and it suspended for 50 games.”
“______ denies using any banned substance.”
“______ has dropped their appeal, and will serve their 50 game suspension.”
I don’t want to be that guy, and I don’t want to accuse anyone of using a banned substance without anything more than empirical evidence, but the past 10 years have taught us to be skeptical.
Here’s part of a post from Bodybuilding.com, a reputed website that follows a sport similarly wrought with performance enhancing drugs:
Frequently, it’s a beginner who testifies to the astounding feat of gaining 30 pounds over a period of several months.
This is, no doubt, a great achievement but most have been fooled into believing that a large percentage is muscle when most of it is due to an increase in glycogen stores, body fat and water.
That’s 30 lbs, and a big chunk of that wouldn’t be functional weight or lean muscle mass. It would seem that Franklin’s weight gain may be from one of two things, an outside substance, or maybe worse, the effects of a 6,500 calorie diet.
Another excerpt from the same post:
The Colgan Institute of Nutritional Sciences (located in San Diego, CA) run by Dr Michael Colgan PHD, a leading sport nutritionist explains that in his extensive experience, the most muscle gain he or any of his colleagues have recorded over a year was 18 1/4 lbs. Dr Colgan goes on to state that “because of the limiting rate of turnover in the muscle cells it is impossible to grow more than an ounce of new muscle each day.”
Of course, Franklin is barely shy of 22 years old. A lot of men gain weight through their early 20s as their bodies mature. Some of Franklin’s weight gain may be attributed to that.
But it’s also possible that this could be the last we see of Franklin at shortstop, more on that from MLB Prospect Watch:
Franklin has handled shortstop just fine throughout his career, but as Baseball America said, “his range, hands and arm are all average.” No matter how much he worked on his agility this off-season and gained weight the proper way, it’s virtually impossible for him to maintain the same range and agility with an extra 35 pounds on his frame. For Franklin, even a slight drop in range at shortstop could be enough to make his move to second base permanent.
Which, if he hits for more power, would be a fine trade off for the Mariners.
And that’s the thing. Right now the Mariners have two shortstop prospects close to the majors that have a chance to play the position long-term. If Franklin drops off that list then a lot rides on the much less bulky shoulders of Brad Miller. I like Miller a lot, but I like options also.
There’s certainly positives with regards to Franklin’s increase in weight, and presumably strength. But it’s not all good. And it may be really bad. Adding 34 lbs with the assistance of a banned substance is bad, adding it with the assistance of Funyuns and chocolate milkshakes–which would mean mostly fat based on the evidence at hand–may be worse.