I’m not going to lie—I’m a big Nick Franklin fan. I was at the FACA Baseball Classic in Sebring (the state’s all-star high school event), where he stood out and played his way into the first round. I wrote about him as a guy moving up draft boards and, sure enough, the Mariners took him in the first round with the 27th overall pick in the draft. I caught up with Franklin to talk about the experience of hearing his name called on TV and what the future may hold.
"I was watching with a friend of the family," Franklin said. "My family was there and a couple friends. We were watching the draft on TV there and just waiting for the countdown, pretty much. I had a good feeling, but I never took anything for granted and I just kind of took it as something, not to expect, but to be looking out for."
Franklin said he’s been to Seattle before, but just as a layover at SeaTac airport.
"I was on Team USA and I had to stop in Seattle to get to Canada," he said. "But I love Seattle and I know a decent amount about their program and what goes on and stuff. It turned out great and I’m really happy with what happened."
Franklin stole the show at the Baseball Classic in Sebring, Fla., helping his East squad take home its first Baseball Classic championship since 1990—before he was born. He went 3-for-4 on the day with two singles, a double and two walks. His double in the ninth inning was a line drive down the right-field line that was one of the most well-struck balls this side of Bobby Borchering’s home run the previous day. It could have been a triple if there wasn’t a runner in front of him that was held up from scoring another run. Franklin is a switch-hitter and has a short, compact swing that allows him to consistently get the barrel on the ball. He has the athleticism to remain at shortstop as a pro.
Defense was a key to Franklin rising from a sixth-to-10th rounder last summer to the first round. He didn’t play much short last summer on the showcase, but the Auburn recruit impressed scouts all spring with his range, arm and footwork, He’s not in Jio Mier’s defensive class, but most scouts we talked to in Florida give Franklin good odds to stay at short as a pro.
"You know, the spring season went really well and once again I never took anything for granted," he said. "When it was all said and done, that’s when I really paid attention to what was going on. Sebring was great for me to just wrap things up and it couldn’t have turned out better."
Franklin didn’t beat around the bush. He said he’s ready to play as soon ASAP.
"Right now, it’s all about getting signed and going out there to play as soon as possible," he said. "That’s one of the big things in my life and one of my biggest goals in life is to go play pro baseball."
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