Seattle Mariners: Why Nick Franklin Is Here to Stay
Franklin debuted for the Mariners as a defensive substitution in the Mariners 9-0 win over the San Diego Padres on Memorial Day, making two plays in the field and walking in his only at-bat. As reported by Greg Johns of MLB.com, Franklin will start on Tuesday night against the Padres, most likely at second base.
Nick Franklin has hit at every stop on his road to the major leagues and was flourishing in Tacoma this season. Before being called up, Franklin was batting .325 with four home runs, 20 RBI and seven stolen bases on the season.
Franklin's call-up isn't the only big development, however, as the demotion of former second-overall pick Dustin Ackley is just as noteworthy. Ackley struggled mightily this season, as he was batting only .205 with one home run and eight RBI over 45 games. This isn't the first sign of struggle for Ackley either, as he is coming off a sub-par 2012 season in which he batted .226 with a .294 OBP.
Manager Eric Wedge was very vocal early Tuesday, claiming that Ackley was caught up thinking more about sabermetrics than actually playing the game.
"It's the new generation. It's all this sabermetrics stuff, for lack of a better term, you know what I mean?" Wedge said. "People who haven't played since they were 9 years old think they have it figured out. It gets in these kids' heads."
Obviously, this isn't what Mariners fans want to hear from their manager; for a multitude of reasons. Many will point out that as manager, it is Wedge's job to keep Ackley's mind in the right place while he plays. Essentially, Wedge is indirectly throwing himself under the bus for not being able to protect Ackley from his own thoughts; but that is a story for another day.
The story right now is that Ackley is down in Tacoma, and Nick Franklin hit his way to Safeco Field. Franklin made it clear that he isn't sure how long he was going to be in Seattle, but made sure that every one knew he was there to play; and to win. Franklin acknowledged that he has had to be patient through each stop, but it was that patience that helped him develop into the player he is today.
"Going from last year to this year was the big difference, just seeing pitches, seeing the good ones and hitting the good ones. Not trying to hit every single ball. Just trying to get your pitch and square it up as best you can."
If Franklin can back up his talk and continue his success at the major league level, the Mariners will be hard pressed to find a place for Dustin Ackley when, and if, he fixes whatever problems he has. One can not help but be impressed by the confidence Franklin is carrying coming to Seattle, even though some of it may be contributed to the outcry of fans who have wanted Franklin in Seattle for the last few weeks.
Who Will Be the Mariners Starting Second Baseman to Start the 2014 Season?
As of now, the second base job is Franklin's to lose. After three years of working hard in the Mariners' farm system, it is difficult to see him relinquishing it any time soon.
Remember, Ackley was performing so poorly that even if Franklin were to bat .250 for the season, he would still be a vast improvement in offensive production.
The Franklin era will officially get underway Tuesday night against the Padres, and if it is up to Nick Franklin, it may be an era that lasts for a very long time.
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