The MLB and MLBPA showed their asses yesterday. Anybody who originally might have thought one side or the other was acting in the best interest of the game should be well aware now that both parties only have their best interest in mind, even if it has a detrimental impact on baseball for years to come. It’s the sad reality we are living in, and the only real losers are the fans. However, if you love baseball as much as I do, there is still a way to get your fix. The minor leagues will continue whether there is a resolution to the lockout or not, and Opening Day is less than a month away.
With that in mind, I’ll be starting a new series, highlighting some of the most exciting prospects in the system. If you look strictly at farm system rankings, you might think the Braves are lacking young talent, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Braves have plenty of talent at the top of their system, and the rest is looking much stronger, as recent draft picks have thrived early on in their minor league careers.
I wanted to start with Franklin because not only is he one of my favorite prospects in the system, but he also fits the bill of what I was talking about above. Thanks to COVID, the 2020 MLB draft only had five rounds, but Alex Anthopoulos made the most of them. Two of the picks have already made it to AAA, and one—Spencer Strider—made his MLB debut already last season. The Braves are clearly placing a lot of value on college talent in recent drafts, and Franklin—a third-round pick out of Michigan—is another example of it paying off.
In his first season of professional baseball last year, Franklin began in High-A Rome, where he flashed plenty of pop and athleticism. As a 22-year-old, he mashed 24 homers (leading all Braves minor leaguers) and 24 doubles, leading to an .842 OPS, which is even more impressive when you consider he barely hit over the Mendoza line in May and had an OPS below .500 for the month.
Entering his age-23 season, I expect Franklin to begin the year in AA alongside top prospect Michael Harris. However, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Franklin is the one who earns a promotion first, given his age. This is one of the most talented prospects in the organization that not a lot of people are talking about. I expect that to change after the 2022 season.
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