Photo: Paul Ruhter/Billings MustangsCincinnati Reds #29 Prospect: 1B KJ Franklin Doug Gray December 17, 2015 4 Comments For all 2016 Prospect Ranking Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out one a day over the offseason). The 2015 season began for KJ Franklin with a return to Billings to play first base for the Mustangs. The 20-year-old couldn’t have gotten out to much worse of a start in June. In his first six games of the season he went 2-19 with three walks and was hit by three pitches. That was good for a .105/.320/.158 line. In his final game of that stretch he was hit by a pitch and wouldn’t play again until July rolled around. Franklin would return to the lineup on July 5th as a pinch hitter and would go 0-3 with a walk in his next game. Over the following week he would run off a 7-game hitting streak that saw him hit .333 and slug .667 with five extra-base hits in 30 plate appearances. After going 0-4 in the first game of a double header on the 17th he would start a new hit streak of five games. The final week of the month was another strong one that saw him hit .333 and slug .722 with five more extra-base hits in five games. After a slow start to the year he rebounded well with a strong month of July, posting a .293/.346/.520 line with six walks and 15 strikeouts in 81 plate appearances. After going 2-4 on August 1st, Franklin would play just one more game for a week. He returned to the lineup on August 9th for a double header, going 0-6 between the two games. He warmed back up after that, hitting .318 with three extra-base hits over the next week. That was followed up by another solid week as he hit .308/.357/.385 in 28 plate appearances. After a big game on the 24th against Missoula where he went 2-3 with a walk, two doubles and three runs driven in, he would go 1-9 over the next three games. It would be nearly two weeks before he would take the field again, going 1-4 on September 8th in his final game of the season. Over the last five weeks of the season he would hit .282/.317/.436 in 83 plate appearances with three walks and 21 strikeouts while spending a decent amount of time on the bench dealing with minor injuries. Overall the 2015 season was a big step in the right direction for KJ Franklin. His walk rate more than doubled from the previous season, he cut his strikeout rate and showed significantly more power. PA 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB K AVG OBP SLG 189 16 1 4 25 0 12 44 .267 .330 .442 Scouting Report [private_subscriber] Hitting | Franklin is probably a below-average hitter in the future. He can use the entire field already. Power | This is the tool that led to Franklin being a 2nd round draft pick. While he hasn’t shown it off in games too often, he’s got above-average raw power with 20-25 home runs in there if he can continue to develop. Running | He’s a below-average runner both now and in the future. Throwing | He’s got a plenty of arm strength, but his throwing accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. Fielding | While he made improvements in 2015 in the field, he’s looking like a future first baseman. He’s going to have to continue to work on learning how to play around the bag and improve his hands. Thanks to the power potential, Franklin has plenty of upside. He changed his set up at the plate this year. He’s eliminated plenty of movement in his set up, closed his stance and moved his hands into a better position to load from. He’s also altered how soon he lifts his leg, giving him better timing. The new set up has helped him adjust to pitches easier and allowed him to get more out of his raw hitting tools. With that said, there is still plenty of work to be done. He’s still got to improve his pitch recognition skills, something he worked on and did during 2015. Defensively he seems limited to first base, which isn’t a good sign in the Reds organization, but also gives him plenty of time to work on the things he needs to without the pressure of being rushed up the ladder. Spray Chart To Total % 1B 2B 3B HR AVG SLG IsoP P 0 0.0% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 C 1 0.8% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 1B 4 3.0% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 2B 15 11.3% 2 0 0 0 .133 .133 .000 3B 16 12.0% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 SS 26 19.5% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 LF 23 17.3% 8 7 1 2 .783 1.435 .652 CF 23 17.3% 7 4 0 0 .478 .652 .174 RF 25 18.8% 9 6 0 2 .680 1.160 .480 [/private_subscriber] Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 4 Responses MK December 17, 2015 I have to wonder about his dedication. When I saw him in Spring Training he looked v ray overweight when I saw him on tv during the season he had shed most of th extra weight. Might speak to a lack of year round conditioning. Tom Gray December 17, 2015 I saw him play in Orem UT in July. He was fat and slow, unimpressive then. The Duke December 17, 2015 A bad bodied 1B who has shown an iffy at best hit tool and less power than expected. He wouldn’t be in my top 30. If he doesn’t take a sizable step forward, he’s going to get eaten up in full season ball this year. Doug Gray December 17, 2015 I will argue all day long that he’s got a bad body. He doesn’t. Less power than expected at age 20, yes. The potential is still there for it though, and that’s what matters for me right now. With that said, he’s outside of the top 30 at this point with the new acquisitions this month – but I’m finishing up the Top 30 from before the acquisitions (which will be tomorrow), then next week I will do profiles/reviews of the guys they’ve acquired this past month + Blake Wood, and insert them into the rankings for those that fit in.