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Rays SS Depth: 4 Will Battle for Starting Job

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Sep 18, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Nick Franklin (2) hits a RBI double during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been hearing Nick Franklin’s name for so long now that most of us forget he’s just 24 years old. He came through in 2013 and surprised many with a promising season. It wasn’t to continue, however, as the sophomore blues hit him hard and he hasn’t really recovered since.

Past

Batting

Fielding

Splits

Strikouts have been the major issue for Franklin since he broke through in 2013 and looked to improve on that in 2014 and beyond. Combines with less than stellar defensive play, it makes it hard to see Franklin earning a regular role on an MLB team unless he drastically improves and changes his approach.

The strikeouts with the Mariners in 2013 were 27.4%, with the Rays AAA and Mariners AAA in 2014 they rose to 35.6%, and in 2015 with the Rays they remained high at 33.9%. Simply put, Franklin doesn’t make enough good hard contact and strikes out too often to be viewed as a regular.

Present

In all honesty, Franklin may have a hard time staying at the MLB level, never mind earning a regular role. He’s more likely to start the year in AAA where he can continue to work on lowering his SO rate and can sharpen his defensive play.

Without a roster spot assured, Franklin’s as motivated as could be. He sees the writing on the wall and could be working harder than any other to impress the Rays – and any other team that may be interested in his services.

Future

With many high-end middle-infield prospects coming up the ranks, it’s not going to get any easier for Franklin. The Rays will soon be looking to see what prospects like Ryan Brett and a healthy Jake Hager can provide them with and may give them that shot with short periods of play. That makes Franklin’s spot on the roster a very questionable one indeed.

And finally, for the Wildcard…

Next: Few give him a shot, but they should!

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