Prospect Review – Nick Franklin


The next prospect up for review is Nick Franklin of the Mariners.

The Basics
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 1st Round (27th pick) of the 2009 draft.
Age as of 4/1/11: 20

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Tm           Lg Lev   G  R HR RBI SB BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Clinton    MIDW   A 129 89 23  65 25 50 123 .281 .351 .485  .837
WestTenn   SOUL  AA   1  3  0   0  0  1   1 .667 .750 .667 1.417

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/22/2011.
Prospect Ranks
Hardball Times: #2 (SEA – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #31 (Overall -  2011), #3 (SS – 2011)
Project Prospect: #3 (2B – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #3 (SS – 2011)
Baseball America: #3 (SEA – 2011)
John Sickels: #3 (SEA – 2011) B
Baseball Prospectus: #3 (SEA – 2011), 4 star
Scouting Book: #8 (SS – 2011), #86 (Overall – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #2 (LAA – 2011)

Analysis

Franklin was drafted out of high school by the Mariners in 2009, and signed for a $1.28 million bonus. He had signed to play baseball at Auburn, but the Mariners were able to pay him enough to make him reconsider. He appeared in 16 games in 2009, but made his full season debut in 2010. He played all but 1 game in 2010 in the Midwest League, with the Mariners’ affiliate in Clinton. Despite being a first round pick, I have to imagine that the Mariners were extremely pleased with his performance there: .281/.351/.485 with 22 doubles, 23 home runs, and 25 stolen bases. Franklin played the entire 2010 season as a teenager (19 years old), and as such posted the 3rd highest home run total in the past decade by a teenager in the Midwest League. The lack of plate discipline (53 walks vs. 132 strikeouts in his career) is a bit concerning, but the walk rate is solid (8.7% in 2010).

From ProBallNW’s scouting report prior to the season:

Franklin is a very balanced player with no outstanding tools or skills and no glaring weaknesses either. While that isn’t sexy, that is certainly valuable. He should hit enough that his ability to start should come down to his defense.  Scouting reports vary (as they often do with defense) but he has good actions and footwork and is at least an average defender going forward.

Prospect Insider had this to say about him, and it makes me very excited to see what he can do next:

Yep, a 49-year-old home run record may go down to a “pip-squeak of a physical specimen,” as one scout put it jokingly, but that’s the biggest reason Franklin is a legit bg-league prospect; He’s smart, works hard, understands the game and brings all the leadership skills and intangibles to the ballpark every single day. He’s methodical in his work and appears to be a bit of a perfectionist, holding himself to a very high standard.

Overall, I think he’s going to be one of those prospects who is going to be a very solid player, and where the tools and build may fall slightly short of some of the other top prospects out there, but it sounds like he has the mental makeup to work through them and excel.

Outlook

It sounds like Franklin could very well start the season at AA in 2011, and could very well be moving quickly up the chain. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of consensus about whether or not he can stay at shortstop, but it seems that regardless he should be in the middle of the infield.

Prediction for 2011

.285/.345/.475, 21 HR, 15 SB

Expected ETA

2012 seems pretty likely for Franklin. The Mariners don’t really have a lot going on at the Major League level at either the shortstop or second base, and a strong performance by him could lend itself to a call up in 2011 at some point.

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