Padres Prospect Interview: Chris Franklin

San Diego Padres prospect Chris Franklin showed good life on his fastball in his debut season. He is now looking to add a third pitch to the mix – something softer that can throw off a hitter's timing.

Let's start with a typical bullpen session. What were you working on out there?

Chris Franklin: I am trying to work on throwing my changeup to right-handed hitters. Sometimes it's going fastball/slider – they can just sit looking for hard stuff, and I just try to work on changing speeds a little bit.

Is that something new to you? It looks like you've developed the pitch pretty nicely over the last little while.

Chris Franklin: Yeah, I've thrown my changeup to lefties before, but in college you really don't throw it to righties very much because the aluminum bat – they can still hit if off the end, and if you leave it up it's going to go. So it's a little new throwing it to righties.

What's it been like coming into the Northwest league from college? Have you seen any difference?

Chris Franklin: It's a little different. There's the difference between aluminum and metal bats obviously, but at the same time, you're facing the people who were the best hitters in college so it kind of evens out a little bit. You have to make more quality pitches here. If you leave a ball up it's going to get hit.

Can you be more aggressive, though, with that wood bat and go "we're going to make them hit the ball because they're trying to learn a new swing"?

Chris Franklin: Yeah, to me the biggest difference is pitching inside. You have to pitch inside at this level where in college you maybe go inside very rarely. Here you have to establish the inner half.

Is it the college bat with the aluminum they can just turn on that pitch? Is that why?

Chris Franklin: Yeah, there's just a lot more room, they can miss hit a ball with the aluminum bat it's still going to go whereas here you get in on somebody's hands and jam them it's a broken bat. It's not going to go anywhere if they do hit it.

You've been in a couple different roles so far since you came here – you've closed, you've been middle relief. What's the comfort level in each of those roles?

Chris Franklin: I feel like you have to have the same mindset every time you go out there whether you're closing or whether you're middle relief or long relief you have to have the same mindset. It's like the game is on the line every time you go out there. That's been the biggest thing for me to adjust to.

When you say adjust, is it just a mental thing?

Chris Franklin: Yeah, I'd say it's more mental than anything.

How do you overcome that? How do you overcome the differing roles? You never know, you get the adrenaline up and you might never even go in the game that day.

Chris Franklin: It's definitely difference than college coming from just closing all the time. Every time you came in the game it was on the line and you had that adrenaline going. Now you come in sometimes, middle relief, and you're up by a couple runs so it's not as an important situation. I think you just have to go in with that same mindset every time to be as effective as you can be.

Do you make your own? Do you go "it's the bottom of the ninth" regardless of the inning?

Chris Franklin: You have to play little mind games with yourself to get you ready for that situation. You can't go in there thinking "I'm going to go three innings today. I need to pace myself for it". You need to go out there and throw 100% as aggressive as you can be every inning.

What's the off-season going to be like? You don't have school unless you're going back, I'm not sure. It changes a little bit now that you're preparing for full season baseball.

Chris Franklin: My off-season is going to be a little different than in the past. I'm really not sure yet if I'm going back to school. I'm not sure about all that yet, but I think definitely the off-season's going to be a big difference from college. In college, during the summer, personally, I just took the summer off throwing and didn't do anything but condition. Now, I'm going to keep throwing, maybe take a little bit off for my arm, but definitely come back and try to strengthen my arm during the off-season.

We're not going to take anything away from your teammates who are great, but if you could take one pitch from one of your teammates and throw it into your own repertoire, whose pitch would you take and why?

Chris Franklin: That's a tough one. Maybe Daniel Ottone's split-finger. That's a pitch I'd really like to throw but obviously I'm not 6-foot-4, and my fingers aren't 12 inches long like his. That's a pitch that I'd really like to throw, but don't have the hands for it.

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