K.J. Franklin was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft out of Cerritos, CA.  The 18-year old third baseman was sent to Arizona to play his first year of pro ball.

He got off to a hot start in his pro debut which started on June 25th.  He hit successfully in all 5 of his games in June.  On June 30th, he went 2-4 with a double and a walk to collect his first multi-hit game.  Overall, June marked a .333/.439/.500 line.  He walked 3 times and recorded 5 strikeouts.

In July, he added 2 more games to total a 7-game hit streak to start his career.  Most of the month turned out to be less than impressive.  From the 3rd to the 23rd, he hit just 6-55 with more than a strikeout per game average.  Franklin got back on track in the last four games of July.  On the 24th, he went 3-4 with a double, his first pro home run, 2 runs, and 2 RBI against the Athletics.  For the month, he slashed a .175/.239/.263 line.  His walks only totaled 5 and strikeouts rose to 29.

August got off to a fair start but ended with a very good showing.  He went 6-26 in the first 8 games of the month.  He did control his strikeouts and walks well during this period though.  Then, he went on a tear in his final 12 games of the year.  He hit successfully in 11 of those games and recorded multi-hit games in 5 of them.  This included three 3-hit games in the final four games.  He made good contact while going 19-49 in the final 12 games but also struck out 14 times.  As a whole, Franklin produced a .333/.393/.440 line in August.  He lowered his strikeouts to 19 and walked 6 times.

Franklin struggled to field the hot corner at times.  In the 106 balls hit his way, he committed 20 errors that led to a .811 fielding percent.


Season Stats

196 173 45 15 0 1 25 1 1 13 53 .260 .326 .364 .691

Overall Thoughts

In his first exposure to professional baseball, K.J. Franklin struggled to find some consistency, but he held his own offensively. Coming out of the draft he was considered to be quite raw, and it showed at times. He will need to improve his plate discipline and his error rate must improve. There is a lot of upside with him though, but it may take some time to put it all together.

About The Author

As a kid who grew up in Central Florida, attending multiple Spring Training games every year sparked a love affair with baseball. I've gone from a Devil Rays fan to a minor league die-hard that gets to watch the game in beautiful Pensacola. While I may not be a writer by trade, I am a baseball fan by nature.

29 Responses

  1. MK

    As I really see Tanner Rahier making a return to Dayton to improve on his hitting consistency does it mean Franklin is in Billings in 2014?

    Is there a potential position change coming for Franklin? Sounds like he struggles on defense and Rahier, Mejias-Brean as well as Vidal ahead of him definitely do not. If he changes where might he fit?

    • Doug Gray

      I think you are right on where each guy starts. AZL fielding stats should be taken with a grain of salt. Just a year ago, Tanner Rahier, who we both agree is an outstanding defender posted an .888 fielding percentage down there. While that is certainly better than what Franklin posted, the point is that at that level things aren’t always as they seem to be.

  2. MK

    Reds announced their non-roster invitees to Spring Training. Pitchers Jose Diaz, Lee Hyde and Chien-Ming Wang; catchers Corky Miller, Rossmel Perez and Max Ramirez; infielders Argenis Diaz, Reynaldo Navarro and Kristopher Negron; and outfielder Jason Bourgeois.

    Surprised no Robert Stephenson.

    • Doug Gray

      More players will be added. I just don’t buy that 3 non-roster pitchers are going to be all that get non-roster invites.

    • mace

      I’m glad that Lee Hyde and Jumbo Diaz have been retained. Are Trevor Bell, Ryan Dennick and Loek Van Mil still in the organization?

  3. Nick

    KJ is an interesting prospect. This article made me think of a question I’ve been pondering for a while. In the last 5-10 years, how good are the Reds at drafting and developing average to above average major league hitters compared to others teams? It seems we only have a few legitimate hitting prospects right now (Ervin, Winker, Rodriguez), and any others that might reach that level need to show some serious improvement before calling them prospects. Just curious as to everyone’s thoughts…

    • Doug Gray

      It is tough to do a straight comparison because the Reds have spent a lot of picks on pitching in the first round over the time, so they are going to be (likely at least) the teams who selected hitters in the first round. With that said, the Reds have turned Bruce, Stubbs, Frazier, Mesoraco, Alonso and Grandal into every day players from the first round in the last 10 years. Winker, Gelalich and Ervin are the only “1st rounders” since 2004 that aren’t every day players from the first round and they are just finishing their first full season or yet to have it.

      Let’s just look at guys they have selected in the first or second rounds since 2005, as hitters: Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart, Yonder Alonso, Billy Hamilton, Yasmani Grandal, Ryan LaMarre, Gabriel Rosa, Jesse Winker, Jeff Gelalich, Tanner Rahier, Phillip Ervin and KJ Franklin. The Reds have done pretty well there with no one you could truly call a miss at this point.

      • Nick

        Some good names on that list. Six major leaguers. Bruce may be the only proven above-average hitter in the majors that still plays for the Reds though. If two more of the guys still in the organization turn into above-average hitters from that list, I would feel better. I’m VERY hopeful for Mesoraco this year and maybe Frazier regains some of his magic from 2012. The Reds have certainly developed pitching well of late.

      • Doug Gray

        To be fair, Yonder Alonso has been an above-average hitter thus far in his career.

      • Nick

        Oh I agree that Alonso has been above-average. He is the sole reason I put the “still plays for the Reds” caveat in there. And I am definitely happy with the Latos trade so no complaints there.

      • Stock

        Alonso’s war last year was 25th among first basemen. If you increase it by 50% to account for games missed he jumps up to 22nd. Very below average. Worse yet he has proven to be a very injury prone player in his career.

      • Doug Gray

        His OPS+ is 110 for his career. 100 is average. He is an above-average bat, but below-average for his position (though not nearly as much as his unadjusted numbers would suggest).

      • Stock

        You forgot Stubbs and maybe 2 others. The pitchers have been pretty good also.

        2005 – Wood was taken in the 2nd round a very good pick.
        2006 – Stubbs was taken in the first round. I don’t know who was taken in the second round. must have been a dud.
        2007 – Lotzkar was taken in the 1st round. Clearly a dud (maybe only because of injuries).
        2008 – I don’t know who was taken in the second round. must have been a dud.
        2009 – Leake and Boxberger. Leake was a good pick, Boxberger average.
        2011 – Stephenson
        2012 – Travieso
        2013 – Lorenzen

        All in all pretty good drafting.

      • Krozley

        2006 2nd rounder was pitcher Sean Watson, a dud. They had no 2nd round pick in 2008 (3rd round was Zach Stewart).

  4. Jim t

    Doug, really can’t help but think with the money and length of player contracts owners are throwing around just how serious they are about ridding themselves of PED’s. As a guy who has Followed the game since early 60’s,Prior to PED’s entering the game player performance used to decline beginning around the age of 32. Now guys are getting huge guaranteed dollars into their 40’s. I know players train year round now and advances made in physical fitness has helped but it seems the back end of these contracts routinely end badly for the team. While there is few things I enjoy more than following sports I can’t help but think as a consumer I’m being raped with the high cost of tickets and concessions. If owners have this kind of money to risk on player payroll this truly can be described as capitalism gone wild. They have to know the ROI for this kind of commitment is dicey at best. Your thoughts.

    • Doug Gray

      Ticket sales make up a very small part of the payroll. Assuming the average ticket sold this year was $35, the tickets made $91M. That of course is before they pay any of the workers or electric bills. The teams make more off of TV and licensing deals as well as the MLB Advanced Media money.

      With that said, I am with you on the contracts themselves. No one is ever worth the last few years on their deal. But, from 27-32, they tend to outproduce their contract too.

      I am still waiting for a team to structure a contract like $35M, 32M, 29M, 25M, 20M, 18M, 17M instead of just $25M for 7 years.

    • MK

      Jim t I am with you on age, and prices are out of control. If you remember it seems the guys with the longest longevity were latin players, who obviously kept themselve in shape year round playing. Probably why I enjoy minor league ball as attitudes resemble attitudes from our day.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree. I don’t know where the Reds go from here. They are almost forced to trade some pitching. If Cruz came cheaper, he might be a option. Giving up a draft choice and the presence of Ludwick kills that move. The Reds might really gamble and go with Ludwick and Hamilton. The odds aren’t with that being successful, but it might. Choo’s offense could be mostly offset by others in the lineup picking their hitting(along with Ludwick bouncing back and Hamilton being decent with the bat.)

      • Alan Horn

        Hopefully, the Reds will make 2 good choices with the picks for Choo and Arroyo.
        That is key for a small market team like the Reds. Make you draft picks count.

      • Nick

        No pick for Arroyo. The Reds didn’t extend him a qualifying offer.

      • Alan Horn

        I forgot about that. We could trade a pitcher and just resign Arroyo. It would be risky given Arroyo’s age. Buy time until Stephenson is ready. You also have the pitcher we got for Hannigan near ready.

  5. rick in boise

    So do we get Texas’s pick or something later? (And nada for Arroyo?)

    But a good landing spot for Choo.. good for him!

  6. rick in boise

    p.s. crazy trade rumor du jour out of Florida (actually two variants)

    Marlins are looking for Cuban stars for their rebuild, also more Hispanics. Miami sports talk claims they inquired about Chapman (as a starter) – they think they can parlay Stanton into multiple frontline starters. Stanton for Chapman, Cueto, Phillips* and another marketable prospect or 2 (mentioned Corcino & Guillon & Arias)

    Would either club do this? It is crazy but our web-connected world has people in Miami knowing so much about the Reds! Kinda cool…

    Variant #2 – apparently, the “experts” on this show laughed and said they had heard a similar rumor out of Tampa re David Price: 2 years of Price for Phillips, Cueto, Chapman and maybe an IF also coming back.

    Even knowing these rumors are bogus, would we prefer Price or Stanton**? I’d think Stanton. What say ye?

    * apparently their front office really likes Phillips

    ** the 3rd rumor was essentially a swap of Stanton and Price (and Marlins flip Price later for mondo haul)

  7. MK

    Think they have Stanton a little overrated. If they wanted that kind of booty they should have moved him after 2012. He hasn’t played a full season since 2011 and if he does he looks like a175 K+ performer. Not sure he fills the need of a clutch hitter, which is what the need the most.

  8. babull

    In whatever concoction is conjured up involving trading Brandon, the team needs to have a starting 2nd baseman. I don’t go into the season with Schumaker.

    I do think Chapman needs to be traded. Stanton would look real good in LF. I am afraid that Cueto can’t stay healthy moving forward. Corcino is a Cueto clone that isn’t expected to make much of an impact with us.

    How about those 3 for Stanton and a top IF prospect that they, presently, have or get back in a Price trade.

    • MK

      Too much for a guy who is going to K 200 times and they have no chance of signing long term. I’d give them something like Corcino and Lutz.