Mid-Season Prospect-Palooza: Hitter of the Year So Far … Nick Franklin

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== Under the radar, he’s killing it in Tacoma ==

Nick Franklin has been under the microscope for so long (since 2010, really) that it has been easy to focus on his shortcomings.

  • Can he play shortstop?
  • Can he ever hit much from the right side?
  • Should he give up switch-hitting?
  • Can he beat out Brad Miller?

But, even as he may be heading out the door in a July trade package, let us not forget.

The kid knows how to hit.

And, yes, particularly from the left side.

And while he’s struggled in his last couple of attempts at the Big Leagues, he’s been the organization’s best all-around hitter at the minor-league level so far in 2014.

And, while maybe not a “weapon” from the right side, he’s no longer looking “defenseless” in that regard.

===

First, let’s look at his traditional stats.  Because of MLB stints, he’s only played in about two-thirds of Tacoma’s games so far.  So consider that when looking at the “counting” stats.

But while you’re doing that, remember that the 40 walks are a “counting” stat!

Year Age Tm G PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2014 23 Tacoma 63 283 237 71 14 1 9 42 8 4 40 52 .300 .394 .481 .875
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/21/2014.

===

Of course, ever since Franklin crushed it in Low-A Clinton at 19, but only from the left side (he was actually quite bad from the right side), there’s been a focus on his splits.  So here are the splits:

Split Tm G PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K BA OBP SLG OPS wOBA
asR Tacoma 30 63 54 14 5 0 0 9 7 9 0.259 0.339 0.352 0.691 0.333
asL Tacoma 61 220 183 57 9 1 9 29 33 43 0.311 0.409 0.519 0.928 0.387

As usual, Franklin is much better from the left side, and, as usual, pretty much all his power is on the left side.

But let’s drill down a bit more with our Spectometer analysis.

From the bottom line, you can see that Franklin “checks all the boxes” as a lefty.  He slugs, he walks, he produces offense.

But, from the middle line, we can now see that Franklin has made himself a solid contributor from the right side — just one with minimal power.

Age Lvl HR% BB% XBH + BB% ISO K% PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Franklin 23 AAA 3.24% 14.39% 23.02% 0.289 18.50% 133 104 137
v L as R 23 AAA 0.00% 11.11% 19.05% 0.093 14.29% 103 79 82
v R as L 23 AAA 4.09% 15.00% 23.64% 0.208 19.55% 136 108 143

In other words, Franklin would be a perfectly acceptable middle infielder with solid plate skills and minimal power if he hit only from the right side.  Of course, from the left side, he’s a beast.

Well, at least in the minors.

But I think that if he were given an extended shot at the majors, the kind of maturity that he’s shown in shoring up his RH approach will also pay off.  That lefty swing isn’t going away.

But any extended shot is probably going to be at second base.  And if it’s at second base it won’t be in Seattle.

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One thought on “Mid-Season Prospect-Palooza: Hitter of the Year So Far … Nick Franklin

  1. Jim, I think a good major league comp for Franklin is Matt Joyce. That’s pretty good for second base, actually. Glad to see he’s hitting right handers a bit.

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