Nick Franklin And Kevin Gausman Debut
It has been a busy few days in the world of prospects as two, top-100 players debuted (Nick Franklin and Kevin Gausman) with a third on the way (Michael Wacha). Let the mad dash to the waiver wire begin! Yesterday on SiriusXM, I was asked if owners should be signing Franklin and I said he was more of a wait and see guy. At that moment, I didn’t consider how weak the shortstop position has played this year. If Franklin is eligible at that position, he’s worth grabbing now. If he’s listed as utility with a position TBD, I’d probably hold off.
As for what to expect? I’ve always felt he was a .275ish hitter with 15-18 home runs in his prime. I’m also curious to see if he struggles against lefties early in his big league career. Last year, he was so lost hitting right-handed, he turned himself around, opting for a left/left match up against a fringe prospect.
Steamer projections have him at .252/.314/.380 the rest of the season which seems reasonable to me. In dynasty leagues, I wouldn’t rush to acquire him, but would monitor his progress to see if he struggles early. At 22, he’s the type of streaky player who might scuffle a bit before turning things around. This may present an opportunity to add him on the cheap later.
In the FakeTeams mock draft, I picked him up late as an undervalued asset. Franklin will be a productive player in time.
As for Kevin Gausman, his debut was pretty much what you should expect to see early in his career. From watching him on MILB.tv, my concern was his tendency to elevate fastballs, causing them to flatten out. 85, 95, or 105, a flat, letter high fastball is going to be hit hard by professional hitters. This happened in Double-A, and again in his debut.
Regardless, I like the idea of an aggressive call up. With an elite fastball/changeup, he was able to limit walks and avoid big innings at the Double-A level. In Baltimore, he won’t be so lucky. A trial by fire approach might accelerate the development of his breaking ball out of necessity.
25 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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