NICK FRANKLIN, SECOND BASEMAN
|Born: March 2, 1991
Drafted: 1st Round, 27th Overall, 2009 (Mariners)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: Lake Brantley HS, Altamonte Springs, FL
Agents: Scott Boras
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Franklin was a first round draft pick and, for several years, highly regarded prospect of the Mariners. Like so many of their position prospects, though, he couldn’t seem to produce in the majors. In the minors, including at AAA, he hit for solid all-around numbers, with decent to good plate discipline. His walk and K rates haven’t been nearly as good in the majors, though, which may account for much of the 214/285/359 line. His teams haven’t shown a lot of desire to give him extended chances. He hit semi-passably in his debut in 2013, with decent power, but found himself back in AAA the following year. He didn’t do much in limited chances in the majors in 2014-15, then had a good partial season with Tampa Bay in 2016. The Rays let him go on waivers, though, and he didn’t get much chance after that, partly due to an injury that cost him most of 2017. Like most switch-hitters, he’s been much better batting left-handed, with a .683 OPS as opposed to .532 batting right-handed. Originally a shortstop, he’s played mostly second and the outfield corners in the majors; if teams don’t see him as a shortstop, that might partially explain the relatively modest chances he’s gotten. He has enough speed that he’s been a fairly good base stealer.
Franklin signed late and made only a brief appearance between two short-season levels. He played mostly short. Baseball America rated him Seattle’s ninth best prospect after the season.
Seattle sent Franklin to low A, where he mostly played short, although he also saw some time at second. He showed very good power with passable plate discipline. BA ranked him third in the Mariners’ system.
Franklin moved up to the high-offense California League, where he again played mainly short but some at second. He put up solid numbers, but not all that impressive given the environment. Seattle promoted him to AA in mid-June, but after a few games he suffered a concussion after being hit by a bat that got loose during practice. He also lost time to a couple of illnesses, but after returning in mid-August he hit well the rest of the year. BA rated him fourth among Seattle’s prospects.
Splitting his time between AA and AAA, Franklin continued to play short about three-fourths of his time at the lower level, but divided his time evenly between short and second in AAA. He hit very well in AA and respectably in AAA. BA rated him Seattle’s fifth-best prospect after the season.
Franklin got off to a hot start in AAA and Seattle called him up in late May. He spent the rest of the season as their starter at second. He hit with decent power and put up a .727 OPS batting left-handed, but only .599 batting right-handed. He struggled as the season wore on, with OPS figures of just .408 and .671 for August and September, respectively.
Seattle sent Franklin back to AAA to start the season. He had only brief stretches with the Mariners in April and May. He continued to hit well in AAA, but not in his limited time with Seattle. At the trade deadline, the Mariners sent Franklin to Tampa Bay in a three-team trade. He spent most of his time after the trade in AAA, where he struggled. In the field, he split his time between second and short.
Franklin missed April and early May with a strained oblique. After that, he roughly split his season between AAA and the majors, although he served mainly as a backup in the majors. He continued to hit well in AAA and struggle in the big leagues, with a very high strikeout rate at the latter level. He again split his time between second and short at both levels.
Franklin spent the first half of the season in AAA, then much of the second half in the majors. His hitting tailed off in AAA, but in the majors he had more success than in any other season, albeit with weak plate discipline. He played mostly second in AAA, but with the Rays he played first, second, short and both outfield corners.
At the start of the season, the Rays designated Franklin for assignment and the Brewers claimed him. He stayed with Milwaukee through late June, serving mainly in a pinch-hit, double-switch role, which left him with a limited number of at-bats. He mostly struggled and the Brewers designated him for assignment, then traded him to the Angels for cash. He saw only limited action with the Angels, who outrighted him to AAA at the end of July. His limited time in the field came mainly at second and in left. He became a free agent after the season.
Franklin signed a minor league deal with the Brewers at the start of spring training and they sent him to AA. They called him up in early May, but the next day he suffered a strained quadriceps. He missed the rest of the season, apart from a few rehab games. Milwaukee outrighted him in September and he became a free agent.
The Pirates signed Franklin to a minor league deal for 2019. They have a number of more promising options for second base and a utility role, like Pablo Reyes and Kevin Kramer, so Franklin may need some luck to reach Pittsburgh. Despite a non-roster invitation to major league camp, he never saw any action in the exhibitions due to a hamstring problem. He should open with Indianapolis.
|2019: Minor league salary
|Signing Bonus: $1,280,000
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: 5/27/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: 2022
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: May 27, 2013 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2014, 2015, 2016)
MLB Service Time: 3.092
|June 9, 2009: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 1st round, 27th overall pick; signed on August 15.
May 27, 2013: Contract purchased by the Seattle Mariners.
July 31, 2014: Traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Tampa Bay Rays as part of a three-team trade in which the Rays sent David Price to the Detroit Tigers, and the Tigers sent Drew Smyly and Willy Adames to the Rays, and Austin Jackson to the Mariners.
April 1, 2017: Designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays.
April 5, 2017: Claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays by the Milwaukee Brewers.
June 27, 2017: Designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers.
June 30, 2017: Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Los Angeles Angels for cash.
July 29, 2017: Designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels; outrighted to AAA on July 31.
November 6, 2017: Became a free agent.
February 15, 2018: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers.
May 8, 2018: Called up by the Milwaukee Brewers.
September 2, 2018: Outrighted to AAA by the Milwaukee Brewers.
October 15, 2018: Became a free agent.
February 6, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.