A few months ago, Nick Franklin really failed to standout statistically; so much so, in fact, that he failed to make my Top 150 Prospects list and barely cracked Seattle’s Top 10, coming in at #8. Sure, the 22-year-old switch-hitting middle-infielder offers above-average pop at the position and solid-average walk rates. But he’s never really hit left-handers — at all, really.
Last year Franklin managed a meager .202/.276/.294 line against southpaws; the year before he batted just .238/.298/.333 and that was preceded by a lowly .182/.231/.281 in 2010. It looked very much like a reoccurring inability. He had logged 396 total plate appearances of ineptitude against lefties. And Franklin appeared to be on the same developmental path as Lonnie Chisenhall, the once highly touted prospect who also can’t hit southpaws.
But something’s different this season for Franklin, something he’s never really done before: he’s hitting from the right side of the plate. Granted it’s an incredibly miniscule sample size, just 28 PA and he’s in the hitter-friendly PCL, but he’s mashing to the tune of .435/.519/.522.
Now he could fall flat out his face tomorrow — after all that’s a decently size historical career sample. But it does offer some glimpse of hope that Franklin can develop into something more than a serviceable platoon player. And it clearly bears watching throughout the season.
If he can, for argument’s sake, continue to show some ability against southpaws he easily vaults back into the game’s top 100 prospects, potentially into the top 50 or so.
Photo of Nick Franklin Courtesy of Kevin Hill/MiLB.com