Mariners shortstop prospect Nick Franklin has had rough spots during several points in his minor league career, but seems to have gotten the hang of adjusting to those struggles every time. After being promoted from Jackson to Tacoma in June, Franklin struck out in 34.1% of his plate appearances in 41 June PAs and then 28.2% of his plate appearances in 117 trips to the plate in July.
However, Franklin has had a nicer August, striking out in just 17.1% of his 76 plate appearances and even better, he's continued to hit for power.
Tacoma led 5-0 after three innings against Reno last night, with Franklin hitting his 7th homer of the season for Tacoma and his second in as many days. But Reno had a 5-run fifth inning off of Erasmo Ramirez (5 innings, 5 R, 7 K, 1 BB) and then went on to win 6-5. To be honest though, I don't care much for the wins and losses for Tacoma as much as how the players do and my favorite player there is Franklin so let's focus on that for a second.
In about one more day, Franklin will have the same amount of plate appearances for the Rainiers as he did for the Generals. His numbers across both levels:
AA Jackson: 239 PA, .322/.381/.502, 4 HR, 17 2B, 4 3B, 24 BB/38 K, 9 SB, 42% Groundballs, 18% Line Drives, .180 Isolated Power
AAA Tacoma: 234 PA, .250/.312/.434, 7 HR, 10 2B, 4 3B, 18 BB/60 K, 3 SB, 32% Groundballs, 18% Line Drives, .184 Isolated Power
Clearly, his triple slash line was better at AA, but there are many encouraging signs about what he's done for Tacoma and the one thing we must always remember is that Franklin, 21, was already young for the Double-A level. He's incredibly young for AAA and is playing against more players with major league experience.
But he's also shown more power in Tacoma and is hitting fewer balls on the ground, where you'll always have your lowest batting average. Franklin dominated at his previous level and now he's holding his own at a level that few would have ever expected him to be at when he was drafted out of high school. The most worrisome thing about his game when he was promoted were the strikeouts, but it's something he had slowly been improving at throughout his career, so there was hope he'd improve at it again. Franklin has struck out just six times in his last eleven games. He has only walked twice over that time, another issue, but something he could still adjust to.
It will be interesting to see if the Mariners call Franklin up in September, so that he may start adjusting ahead of time for 2013.