Outfielder Jesse Franklin has put himself on the watch list for next emerging Braves prospect.
Atlanta drafted Franklin in the third round in 2020 out of Michigan. After a slow start to his first full season, the 22-year-old began to rake at High-A Rome.
In 22 June games, Franklin hit .338/.412/.757 with eight homers, five doubles, a triple and six stolen bases in six tries.
Franklin was the only position player the Braves selected in the truncated draft last year. A Seattle native, he opted against signing with his hometown Mariners when drafted in 2017, instead heading to Ann Arbor.
Franklin was sensational his first season with the Wolverines, hitting .327/.379/.588. His slash line dipped in his sophomore campaign, though he showed growing power for a Wolverines team that advanced to the College World Series finals.
Franklin missed his final collegiate season after breaking his collarbone in a skiing accident in January 2020.
Talent evaluators lauded Franklin for his base talent and work ethic. The Braves raved about his potential power-speed combination.
“We like the makeup, the strength, the body, the swing,” Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown said after the draft. “He’ll grow into some power. I saw it more so in batting practice, so he’s got some raw power.
“Because of the swing and the way it looks, we feel like he’ll be able to get into a lot of that power.”
Now, Franklin has started putting it together, giving the Braves another ascending position player in a system looking for individuals to break out.
“From the alternate (training) site last summer in Gwinnett to spring training and the regular season this year, Jesse has impressed with his work ethic,” Braves assistant GM of player development Ben Sestanovich said.
“His combination of power and contact skills is very exciting. To see both skills showing up in games this year is especially encouraging for a player who missed an entire year of game action last year.”
— Righthander Spencer Strider, a 2020 fourth-rounder, was off to a stellar start. After dominating at Low-A Augusta and High-A Rome, he moved to Double-A Mississippi on June 24. Through nine starts he had recorded a 2.35 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 15 walks in 38.1 innings.
— The Braves felt catcher Shea Langeliers, the ninth overall pick in 2019, had legitimate power potential. He was showing it in Double-A Mississippi, hitting 13 homers and five doubles through 42 games. An advanced defender, Langeliers’ bat will determine how quickly he reaches the majors.