Ah, the middle infield. Can you think of any other fantasy position where people praise mediocrity more than here? I owned Daniel Murphy in 2014 and it was great! Kudos to you, my friend…kudos. Pardon me if my pants don’t get tight about someone who has a 10/15 season. That’s just not for me because you’re drafting to not get hurt rather than drafting to succeed. What happened to you as a child to choose such a sheltered path? I worry about people like this. They’re usually the ones that snap and go postal at the mall. I mean, I’d lose it too if I thought the only sexual position was quiet missionary in the dark. But I guess that’s the only kind if you’re getting any living in your parent’s basement…wow, where’d you all go? Well, now I at least know who my audience is/was. But for the remainder of you that stuck around, let’s talk about the scary upside and downside of our player of this post, Nick Franklin, and why he could be a good get for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…
So I don’t know when these posts are gonna come out or in what order but Franklin is post number six I’ve written so far and the big thing I’ve learned from these writeups is how players, regardless of age, can get written off pretty quickly. And what’s funny about Nick Franklin is his pedigree and his age would make you think with only 502 plate appearances in his career at the soon to be age of 24, this former 2009 first round draft pick would have a bit more buzz around his name knowing the Rays have all but given him a starting job at 2B to start the year. But no, we know what Franklin is at this point after one season of 412 PAs in 2013 and 90 in 2014. Yep, he’s a strikeout machine who’ll never live up to the hype. What do I see? I see the starting second baseman for the Rays in 2015 who has the potential for a 15/10 floor and hopefully an average that won’t kill you. Yes, it’s clear his strikeout rates are going to hamper any realistic chances of hitting above .250. From 2014, there were only seven players who met the minimum PA requirements with higher K% than Franklin’s career mark of 28.9%. Of those players, only Marlon Byrd hit above .230 (he hit .264 because I know you were gonna go look it up and I don’t wanna you to leave…I’d miss you!). So to put it mildly, let’s say he repeats his 2013 but adds 48 games and roughly 200 PA. You’ve got a .225 hitter (gross) with close to 9 steals (eh, not bad) and 17 HRs (ok, I’m intrigued). Overall, I’m not predicting a breakout here. However, to put it in perspective, Dustin Ackley was your 15th best 2B last year according to Razzball Final 2B Rankings and he hit 14 bombs, stole 8 bags while hitting .245. And if Nick goes all Xbox on you and gets an achievement unlocked, maybe you’re looking at .250 with 18 HRs and 15 SB. In the end, there’s still some potential and intrigue with Franklin and I’m not willing to give up on him right as he’s being given a chance.
Honorable 2B Deep League Mentions
Marcus Semien – I’m gonna be liking me a lot of A’s players this year. How could you not? None of them are really gonna be going high on draft boards. But I digress, Seimen is just too middling of a middle infielder for me to get totally intrigued. He makes me think of Daniel Murphy with a lower batting average which sounds great until you realize average is the only thing separating Murphy from a majority of the muck past the top 15. Marcus is young and could surprise but he’s definitely a last resort kind of play for me.
Luis Valbuena – Want some sneaky pop that’ll get overlooked? Valbuena is your man. The trade to the Astros does nothing major for Luis’ value as he’s still a 15 HR kind of guy. The main two things that pull him down my 2B list are 1) his average and 2) he’s a platoony-toon. His potential to be a helpful bench bat is high but anything other than that and you’re asking too much.
Rougned Odor – He’s going to be 21 by the time the season starts and let me be the first to say, he’s not Mike Trout. Because, of course, no one is comping Odor to Trout and why should they? All this to say, I’m not saying he has no talent, I’m just saying I think his growth will be gradual and could be derailed by a stumble and losing some ABs here and there. Hey, stranger things have happened. I mean, they keep letting me write for this site. I should’ve been stopped years ago!