Nick Franklin is 22-years-old and has been on the top-100 prospect list since he was 19, rifling through the Mariners‘ farm system. Franklin has never spent an entire year with one team as a professional, because he was constantly getting called upon for new responsibilities at higher levels.
Let’s keep that in mind as we pick apart what has been a disastrous month of August.
How bad has it really been? In 11 games, Franklin has 12 more strikeouts than base hits, of which he only has 5. Meanwhile, his counterpart in the middle of the diamond, Brad Miller, has improved month-to-month fairly consistently in all three splits (BA/OBP/OPS).
July 31 gave Mariners‘ fans a little heads up for what August could bring, as Franklin went 0-7 with 4 KO’s in the 15-inning loss to Boston.
What is different that has caused such a dip in production?
In the minor leagues, the number that jumps out the most for the young second basemen is his power numbers. Aside from some power surges in single-A, Franklin has hit 18 home runs in his last two seasons combined. From May 30 to July 28, Franklin belted all 10 of his 2013 home runs, a healthy spike from his previous performance.
In the offseason, Franklin dedicated himself to putting on some muscle weight to endure a longer season, but home runs can be addicting, and after some success in the big leagues, Franklin may be pressing in the month of August to show off some power to get out of a slump.
Speaking of that long season, this also may be a contributing factor. The baseball season is long, and the emotional toll of playing in a different, historical park every few days may be draining the guy.
It is imperative that he pushes through this hole, and that the organization allows him the opportunity to fail and succeed again before resting in the offseason.
Digging through his season stats on Baseball Reference, an odd trend continued to pop up for Franklin in his three months in the big leagues. In “pressure situations”, Franklin had better numbers than the rest of the time.
His OBP with 2 outs is .100 points higher than with 0 outs, and his RISP numbers are better than any other situation on the field.
His numbers in the 7th-9th inning are better than any other 3-inning stretch.
I am not a scout, I don’t know what this means, but it is interesting to see if that will continue.
One positive outlook for Franklin are his home/away splits. For years, looking at Mariners offensive home/away splits are depressing and discouraging, but Franklin has hit incredibly well at home (.279/.359/.465) — higher than his road numbers substantially (.197/.250/.377).
Love him or hate him, Franklin is here to stay, and second base is all his.
The good news is that half his games will be in Seattle, and hopefully that home rhythm will branch out into the rest of the season.
Last detail for the night. Nick is now on Twitter. Maybe that will help out.
Like to thank friends/fans for welcoming me in to the twitter world! Been a great learning day with @SergioMillar
Let’s Go M’s!