Franklin Pulling a Junior in the AA Playoffs

The AA Diamond Jaxx got crushed by the Smokies, 11-1, evening up the series after two games.  Chris Carpenter - no, not that Chris Carpenter, but a talented AA flamethrower -- led a dominating pitching performance as the Diamond Jaxx got only four scattered singles against the 11 strikeouts they suffered.

Four scattered singles, except for Franklin, who had two line-drive base hits and a stolen base, with no strikeouts.


=== Prospect Report ===

BaseballHQ, before the season, relayed the following info about Christopher Carpenter:

  • "Lively mid-90's fastball" up to 96 mph
  • 79-82 slider "can be a swing and miss pitch"
  • Still-developing 81-83 change is a minus pitch
  • Profiles to be "at worst" a "nice" short reliever in the majors

Carpenter fanned 100 men in 119 innings this season, including 8 Diamond Jaxx in 6 ip on Friday night.

Here is the Smokies' age 23-27 roster.


=== GameDay ===

Has Franklin with two hard singles, one right and one left.  In the third, he reached on an error, and followed that up with a steal of second base.  So much for jitters...

Going 3-for-8 doesn't certify Franklin as a can't-miss prospect, of course, but is it fun to watch the teenager take the fight to the big boys in the upper minors?  Well, what do you think the Mariners are doing?  They're mulling the idea of a SUPER fast track in 2011, and they're dipping their toe in the water first:  how does he respond to AA playoff baseball?


Franklin's game one reminded SSI of Griffey's debut game in the majors, a ringing double to left field right off the bat.  (Franklin, swinging lefty, took a fly ball the other way for his XBH.)

When Griffey got the majors as a 19-year-old, he was overmatched by definition ... but not intimidated.  He did what great players do when overmatched:  he laser-focused and did what he was capable of doing.  Year one, that was singles and doubles.

You could just about feel Griffey's concentration through the TV screen in 1989-1990, as he willed himself to succeed in a context he couldn't possibly have understood.  Franklin's start in AA echoes the same.


Not saying that it's a done deal, obviously.  Maybe the rest of the series, Franklin will fan three times a game.  But it's exciting enough that the Mariners would even shove Franklin into this scenario.  More exciting yet to see Franklin have a Junior first two games.


Dr D


John's picture

You need to step up to the plate and name Franklin the 2010 SSI MVP. 


We are sustaining ourselves on minor-league field rations, and Franklin is the flashpoint for that nourishment.
Ackley and Smoak are better prospects, but Franklin and Pineda have taken the emotional tone from "two great prospects" to "great system."
I like it.

John's picture

I also think people overlook Seager too.  He is a gamer...I am a New Yorker being drawn to the Mariners.
My son gets mad with my Ackley and now Franklin obsessions....


Could a New Yorker be drawn to the Mariners?
Seriously.... :- )


What would a bettin' man say were the odds that Franklin
1. Starts '11 in Tacoma
2. Starts '11 in AA, gets the AAA call-up before July 4th.
3. Starts '11 in AA, no AAA call up until late August.
4. Gets a Seattle cup of tea (or is it latte in Seattle) in '11.
I'll say...
1. 4 to 1
2. 2 to 1
3. 2 to 1
4. 2 to 1

John's picture

# 3 is the best bet...
Then when he becomes a free agent, he will replace Jeter at shortstop..  Just being funny...


Not sure what the odds are, but presuming that Franklin continues to hit well -- not necessarily mash -- then it's simply the Mariners' choice whether to go the AA-AAA-cup-of-coffee schedule next year.
If Franklin continues to hit, and he probably will, there's nothing weird at all about the idea of Franklin starting with the M's on Opening Day 2012.  The shortstop doesn't have to hit right away.
Gauging the odds is mostly a question of gauging the Mariners' intent, not Franklin's ability.  Franklin probably does have the ability to pencil in a 2012 job.

Anonymous's picture

"Maybe the rest of the series, Franklin will fan three times a game"
You called it properly. Yesterday he fanned three times. Safeco is still a long way ahead.

John's picture

But right now it is the equivalent of an 8th grader starting on the varsity and doing pretty well. 
Wait til he gets stronger.  He will be in the Futures game next year, Arizona Fall League and Safeco 2012.  My predicition...Ackley at 2nd, Franklin at SS and Smaok at 1b...

Anonymous's picture

There's a good chance your prediction (or for better saying "everybody" prediction) will be right, even if doubt one of those three is going to be adequate. I was just smiling because several fellows in the M's blogosphere were sooo excited they required the kid to be called up right now.

Anonymous's picture

Franklin fanned three times the last game, not every game as was the original worse case scanario comment. 
As a ss he outperformed the other ss in the southern league playoffs, except for Gonzalez from TNS; Franklin improved his rh avg in AA, that's promising!; Saturday's game - bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, down by 5, batting rh, switchhitting franklin lines a base hit into cf - not bad....
Can't say where he will be with regards to Safeco after four games in AA....but I think he is on the fast track. 

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