The way Nick Franklin began his Seattle Mariner career this summer, fans were impressed. He was hitting, getting extra base hits, and he was fielding well at second base, after spending most of his minor league career being groomed for shortstop. But the Mariners needed a second baseman as the M’s had grown weary of Dustin Ackley‘s lack of production. Franklin replaced Ackley at second and now fans are wondering if he will follow Ackley as another disappointment.
When Ackley was first called up to the Mariners in 2011, his blazing bat impressed Mariner fans who thought, at least hoped, he was the next big star in the Mariner galaxy. But after hitting .273 in 90 games, his blazing bat flickered away in 2012, hitting .226 and is currently hitting .237 in a season which saw him sent to AAA Tacoma to learn a new position.
After Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Oakland, Franklin is 6 for his last 44 with 16 strikeouts. In fact after one strikeout that ended an inning, he tossed his bat and slammed his helmet to the ground in anger. Frankly, no pun intended, I like that display of disgust. Some players just walk away, keeping their cool, showing no emotion. I like the fact he was mad because it shows passion beyond the instantaneous frustration.
I suppose this is the part of the article in which it must be said that both Ackley and Franklin are young, that they are trying to adjust now that opposing teams are pitching them differently. Once a scouting report determines your flaws in hitting, pitchers play to those flaws, and the hitters must now adjust. If hitting were easy, everyone would hit .350, but it isn’t easy.
Now that the disclaimer has been written, it would be nice if the Mariners could draft a player who needs little, if any, adjustments. Someone like Bryce Harper, or Mike Trout. Harper was the number one pick in the 2010 amateur draft so he was expected to fulfill the star role and he has. Trout was the 25th pick of the first round in 2009. That means 24 teams passed on him.
The Mariners had a couple players like that. One was Ken Griffey Jr. and the other ended up in New York facing a 211 game suspension. But players like Harper, Trout, and Junior do not come along often. So Mariner fans sit and watch the Franklins, the Ackleys, the Millers, the Smoaks, and the Saunders of the world, hoping somebody can sooner or late play this game. We wait for the adjustment.