Brainstorm: Nick Franklin — Rookie Season


== Little Nicky in the Big Leagues ==

Part of one season, at age 22, doesn’t give us a lot to go on, but it’s more than what we had.  So let’s see what Nick Franklin accomplished in his MLB debut season.

First the basics, and, since we’ve determined that Franklin is really two different hitters from the two sides of the plate, we’ll keep up our split analysis:

2013 22 SEA AL 102 412 369 83 20 1 12 42 113 0.225 0.303 0.382 0.686
as LHB 89 277 250 58 14 0 11 27 77 0.232 0.307 0.420 0.727
as RHB 61 135 119 25 6 1 1 15 36 0.210 0.296 0.303 0.599

It doesn’t take too much effort to notice the very nice extra-base hit totals, but also the large number of strikeouts in a season of just 102 games.

Next we’ll plug Franklin into our “template” analysis.  It looks at the percentages of the various key plate outcomes.  I preface this with fairly extreme examples of successful hitters of various types: the “all-around”; the “modern slugger” (the slugger who walks); and the “plate skills technician” (relying on singles, walks and not striking out).  And a dose of what a distorted line looks like (Mark McGwire 1992-99).  Jackson and Carew were chosen since they are pretty clearly from the era in which steroid distortion was not present.

In each case, the hitter’s percentage is compared to the 10-year MLB average, which is set at 100.

HR%+ K%+ BB%+ XBH%+ S%+
The Ultimate: Ted Williams 199 160 247 146 101
Modern Slugger: Reggie Jackson 184 74 143 120 85
Plate Skills Technician: Rod Carew 34 146 116 79 147
Roid Rage: Mark McGwire 92-99 338 82 234 160 63
HR%+ K%+ BB%+ XBH%+ S%+
Nick Franklin 107 48 121 103 78
as LHB 148 46 115 115 77
as RHB 26 52 132 76 81

We can see that LH Franklin is a “modern slugger” type.  He strikes out a lot, but makes up for it with power and walks.  This is not surprising to see, since that is pretty much the template we would have expected from his best minor-league seasons.

RH Franklin, again, not surprisingly, was a different animal, although the walk rate was encouraging.

Now let’s look at our “three numbers” approach.  NSOBP is “non-singles OBP” or OBP from extra-base hits and walks.  BABIP+ is an indication of a hitter’s ability to produce more base hits than the average hitter on balls-in-play.  You can see that Carew’s greatness depended on it.

The final three are the numbers we used for our 2013 MLB rankings: PSA+ measures avoidance of non-random outs; Conv+ measures production of non-random offense; Comp combines the two.

The main difference between the left columns and the right columns is that the left columns are “additive” only, whereas the right columns adjust negatively for strikeouts.

The Ultimate: Ted Williams 187 190 110 239 171 310
Modern Slugger: Reggie Jackson 129 149 100 126 120 146
Plate Skills Technician: Rod Carew 95 66 120 121 100 121
Roid Rage: Mark McGwire 92-99 191 255 91 210 192 303
Nick Franklin 105 103 97 86 89 75
as LHB 108 123 97 89 98 88
as RHB 98 61 97 80 70 50

Again, we see quite a bit of promise in LH Franklin, but drug down below 100 by the strikeout rate.  As for RH Franklin, he’s a singles hitter with no BABIP juice and a high strikeout rate.  Not very helpful.


Finally, now that he’s got some MLB performance data, we can go to the always-valuable Brooks Baseball and check out his “Player Card.”

  • The big gap in strike-zone judgment between LH Franklin and RH Franklin that we saw in 2010 seems to have greatly diminished.  He showed growth in that area in the minors, and ought to be able to develop in that regard in the majors as well.
  • The big gap in ability to hit the ball with authority between LH Franklin and RH Franklin remains.  Is .100 ISO a ceiling for RH Franklin?  So far it seems to be.  Compare the two “spray charts” for confirmation.NF RHnf LH

LH Franklin smacks the ball around the yard.  RH Franklin doesn’t.  And what does all this mean?


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