Whan can the Mariners expect from Nick Franklin?

Time for Franklin to shine

It’s a day of change for the Seattle Mariners with the report that the M’s have optioned Dustin Ackley to Triple-A Tacoma in order to call up top prospect Nick Franklin.

From Ackley to Jesus Montero, Seattle’s had trouble finding success with its top offensive prospects. But Franklin is a different beast, and the hope is he’ll finally be the one to break the curse.

With an air of optimism surrounding Seattle today, here’s a look at five things to expect from Franklin’s Major League debut.

1. An adjustment period

When a top prospect comes up, everyone wants that player to contribute immediately. Especially when that prospect’s been as successful in the upper minors as Franklin.

Remember, it’s always better to temper expectations. An adjustment period should always be expected when making the jump from the minors to the Majors.

Keep in mind, last season with his first call up to Triple-A Franklin struggled to hit .243/.310/.416 in 64 games. But after starting this season at the same level he’s managed to hit .324/.440/.472. Even if Franklin starts slow, the talent and ceiling is still there.

2. Doubles

There’s a misconception about Franklin that he has a lot of power. While he does have a strong bat, don’t expect tons of home runs from the 22-year-old.

It's official: Nick Franklin's time has come (Photo: AP)

It’s official: Nick Franklin’s time has come (Photo: AP)

Franklin looked like a middle of the order bat in 2010 after hitting 23 home runs. Since then he’s only managed double-digit home runs in one other year.

While Franklin might not smack more than 15 home runs in a single year, he’s still got power. He managed 32 doubles and nine triples last season, and he’s averaged 30 extra base hits a year across his five seasons in the minors.

3. Middle infield offense

Seattle’s offense has been struggling this season, and no more than in the middle infield. Outside of Kyle Seager there’s been no production from the left side of the field.

The hope is that Franklin will change that. The switch-hitter is a shortstop by trade, but he also has 122 games at second base.

With an ability to play multiple positions across the infield—and provide some offensive punch in the lineup—the M’s should finally get some offense from their infield.

4. Top of the lineup production

Seattle’s offensive woes can be traced to the top of the order, where the M’s have failed to find any support. Every team needs a good leadoff man, and Michael Saunders has not been that man this year. But Franklin could be.

Across the minors Franklin’s managed to post a .360 OBP. He currently has a .440 OBP at Triple-A with 30 walks and just 20 strikeouts.

The infielder also has speed, having stolen 63 bases in the minors. With an ability to get on base, as well as a combination of power and speed, Franklin could finally provide some leadoff production for the Mariners.

5. Solid defense

The M’s are a pitch-first team, and every solid rotation needs a strong supporting cast on defense.

Ackley was a good defender, but inconsistent—and not great. Franklin has a solid glove, smooth flow and a solid combination of quickness and range. The infield D won’t be losing any steps with Franklin, and with any luck it should even improve.


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