Welcome to the Show, Nick Franklin
The rumors began last night, but it wasn’t until this morning when the players arrived at the stadium that the beat writers could confirm them. Dustin Ackley’s been sent down, and in his place is Nick Franklin. There are other moves as well, including the recall of Hector Noesi, but the story of the day is the promotion of the 22-year old middle infielder, who was hitting .324/.440/.472 in AAA. Ackley’s season line had dipped to .204/.266/.250, and his career line is now down to .237/.307/.344. People may point to his solid fielding stats and positive WAR numbers to show that he was still adding value, but the downward trajectory of his offensive stats and the questionable reliability of his fielding numbers make this move a good one.
Franklin’s had a remarkable year. I saw him several times last season, and while he’d flash some good tools, it was clear he wasn’t ready for the next step due to below-average contact skills. In his first month in AAA, he struck out in over 30% of his plate appearances. While he cut back on his Ks substantially during the season, contact had always been Franklin’s weakest tool. His best is probably his work ethic though, and putting in extra hours in the cage seems to have paid off. In 2013, he’s walked more than he’s K’d, and his K% is below 12%.
He’s likely to struggle a bit against left-handed pitching initially, but the timing works here. He can stick at 2B and not worry about improving his range at SS on the big stage. He appeared to be something of a slow starter at AAA, so it’s unlikely he’ll make an immediate splash, but I think his new-and-improved eye might help him add some value initially. Good luck.