Franklin Out of Gahr (CA) H.S.
After investing their first two selections on college players the Reds made third baseman Kevin Franklin their first high school player drafted in the second round of this year’s draft. Franklin is a big prospect with a big swing capable of providing towering home runs. His ability to provide good contact as he develops will determine if he can become a mid-lineup run producer.
In recent years Cincinnati has stocked up on talent by enhancing their drafts from reaching in their pocket to dissuade late round selections from playing collegiately. At first this year it looked as if they might be looking to save some money after their first two selections went for college players. Typically they are less expensive to sign because they’ve already used up most of their option to continue playing as amateurs. However, close to the end of the second round the Reds picked Kevin Franklin out of Gahr (CA) High School with the 67th overall selection.
Franklin is a 6’1”/220# eighteen year-old drafted as a third baseman. Prior to this season the last two second round picks of the Reds, Gabriel Rosa (2011) and Tanner Rahier (12), have both spent most of their time at the hot corner while playing professionally. Just looking at Franklin’s size it’s no surprise that he projects for a lot of power in his bat which he swings from the right side of the plate. His swing is one that could provide a lot of tape-measure home runs and/or a lot of strikeouts.
Contact is the biggest question of his game. He’s earned a reputation for a strong work ethic and in the field he rates as having a capable glove and strong arm. There’s some thought that his size might require a move across the diamond to the other corner, but he is very athletic. Overall, he’s a project with a tremendous potential upside. Franklin was not found in Scout.com’s list of their top 111 prospects and could be considered a reach for the round. Perhaps after spending their first two picks on college players the Reds felt it time to take more risk with this selection. Now that they’ve drafted him they will try to rob his services from Arizona State with whom he signed a scholarship.
Historically, the second round is an important one for Cincinnati. Notable round two selection in franchise history include Johnny Bench, 1988 Rookie of the Year Chris Sabo, Joey Votto, Zach Cozart, Billy Hamilton and Barry Larkin-though Larkin did not sign until after they re-drafted him in the first round three years later. If they don’t get a good third baseman out of their recent second rounds it won’t be for lack of trying. They’ve been willing to roll the dice too with reaches for Franklin and Rosa while Rahier was expected to be off the board by the time the Reds got him with the 78th overall pick last year.
Overall the Reds used 22 of their 41 selections on high school players, but only four of their first eleven. 22 of their 41 picks went for pitchers, including eight of nine picks from rounds three through twelve. The highest drafted pitcher, Michael Lorenzen was an outfielder in college in addition to closing. One intriguing pick was Chad Jones, a left-handed pitcher for LSU when they won the 2009 College World Series. Previously he had an NFL career ended by a near-fatal car accident. Now he’ll try to make a comeback on the diamond instead of the gridiron.
Other Organizational News:
The Reds tied up their home series against division-leader St. Louis with a 4-2 win in the second game. Solo home runs by Jay Bruce and Devin Mesoraco tied the score twice before Joey Votto knocked in the go-ahead run in the sixth with a double. Mesoraco struck later that inning to add some insurance with an RBI-single. Five different Reds each had two of their ten hits: Mesoraco, Shin-soo Choo, Bruce, Votto, and Derrick Robinson. Todd Frazier reached safely twice from walks. Mat Latos was strong on the mound and picked up the win by allowing two runs in seven innings to improve his record to 6-0/2.87 ERA. Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman finished with one scoreless inning each with Chapman getting the save.
A three-run rally in the sixth inning by Louisville was not enough in their 6-3 loss to visiting Durham. Armando Galarraga was tagged for six runs in six innings for the loss. Nick Christiani and Lee Hyde combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Felix Perez had three hits for the Bats including a two-run double. Mike Hessman and Nevin Ashley both reached safely twice via a hit and a walk.
Pensacola took a four-run lead with two in the eighth and held on to win 4-1 at Mississippi. Ryan Dennick came back off a rough outing to hold the M-Braves to one run in six-plus innings for the win and lowered his ERA to 3.18. Loek Van Mil struck out all three batters faced in the ninth for the save. Dennick got scoring started in the game by leading off the fifth with a triple and scoring on a Luis Durango single. Tucker Barnhart singled the next inning and scored on a Devin Lohman sac fly. Travis Mattair led off the eighth with a double and scored on an error. The last Wahoo run came across from a single by Brodie Greene. Ray Chang reached safely three times with two hits plus a walk and scored a run. Durango reached three times from two walks and a hit. Mattair, Barnhart, and Dennick also each reached with a walk in addition to their hits.
Bakersfield rallied for six runs over their last three at-bats in their 7-3 win over Lake Elsinore. Shane Dyer did not get a decision after allowing three runs off four hits in six innings. All of his runs were unearned and he’s got a 1.50 ERA after two starts. Carlos Gonzalez threw one-plus innings without allowing a run and picked up the win. Jamie Walczak entered in the eighth and finished the game for the save. Walczak still hasn’t been scored upon this season after six appearances. Marquez Smith got the scoring started with a solo home run in the first. Two more Blaze runs crossed in the sixth from an error on a ball hit by Juan Duran. Yorman Rodriguez doubled in a run the next inning and their three-run rally in the eighth included a two-run homer by Duran and another RBI-hit by Rodriguez. Rodriguez, Smith, and Duran each had two of their team’s seven hits.
In a real pitcher’s duel Dayton lost 1-0 at Fort Wayne in twelve innings. Robert Stephenson is bucking for a promotion. The former first rounder got no decision from seven shutout inning over which he allowed only three hits while striking out eight against only one walk. He’s now 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA over 38-plus innings in his last six starts. Joel Bender relieved him with four scoreless frames, but took the loss when he allowed the game’s only run in the twelfth. The Dragons were limited to six hits in the game and none of them went for extra bases. Joe Hudson had two walks to go along with a single. Zach Vincej and brent peterson both reached safely twice with a walk and a single.