Padres Prospect Interview: Chris Franklin

Chris Franklin is a hard-throwing right-hander taken by the San Diego Padres in the 12th-round. With a tough slider, Franklin may be a candidate to grow as a starter or continue as a potential late inning man.

Congratulations on getting selected by the Padres. What was the overall feeling being selected by the Padres and where do we go from here?

Chris Franklin: It is an honor to have a chance to play professional baseball. It is every kid's dream. I was sitting around watching the draft tracker and rounds kept going by and going by and I was getting a little nervous. As soon as I saw my name pop up, it was a big sigh of relief.

How agonizing is that? Your name pops up in the 12th round and it is the computer that lets you know. Nobody calls you.

Chris Franklin: It is very nerve-wracking. All day I was walking around my house and I could not sit still. Finally it popped up and I was able to relax a bit. It was good feeling.

Talk a little bit about the pitches you throw and what speeds you throw them at.

Chris Franklin: I throw a two-seam fastball, consistently around 93-94 mph. I might touch 95 mph with that on occasion. My best "out" pitch is my slider. Usually that is around 83-94 mph, though I did have it up to 87 mph this year. I throw a circle change at about 80 mph, about 12 mph slower than my fastball. I have been experimenting with a curveball a little bit and later in the year when I broke into the starting rotation, I started working on throwing the curveball a bit more. That is still something I am developing.

You are a guy that threw 90 innings but you only had five starts. Was it more of a long relief role, as I note you also saved 7 games as well?

Chris Franklin: Last year, I was just the closer. This year, the coach said he wanted to bring me in earlier than the 9th inning. I would come in and throw the last 3-4 innings. That is how I had more innings before I was starting.

What was the benefit you saw out of that? It seems that getting a little more consistent work allowed you to work on those pitches and maybe it was the change-up that needed the improvement most.

Chris Franklin: Getting out there and being able to extend my innings allowed my change-up to become a solid third pitch. When I would come in and just pitch the ninth inning, you did not have a lot of time to experiment with your pitches and you needed to throw what you were comfortable with most of the time. So I believe it helped a lot being able to pitch more innings.

I noticed you walked 30 guys. Can you pinpoint a reason for this or something you were doing that may have brought that number up a little bit?

Chris Franklin: I think a lot of it has to do with being in the game in tough situations with runners on. Sometimes you cannot tell by just looking at the stats whether there was a runner on second with a base open and one of their better hitters up, you may not elect to overtly walk him, but you were not going to give him anything to really hit. I think the main thing is I really tried not to let the best hitters on the teams we played beat us. I think that had a lot to do with the number of walks.

Did you have any idea that the Padres were a team that was interested in you?

Chris Franklin: I remember I received a letter and phone call from the Padres. To be honest with you, I had expected to go to other teams based upon what those teams had told me. I was not really paying attention and then looked down and saw my name with Padres and thought, "Wow". It was kind of a surprise.

As an Alabama kid, what was your favorite team growing up?

Chris Franklin: I was always an Atlanta Braves fan because that was the closest team to where I lived. Back in the day when they had Smoltz and Glavine and Maddox, that was the team that I liked.

Who would you compare your stuff to at the Major League level?

Chris Franklin: I had a scout tell me earlier this year, on a day where my slider was looking really good, that I reminded him of a Brad Lidge. The mentality I had when I was on the mound and the type of pitches that I had, Lidge was who he compared me to. I am certainly am not saying I am a Brad Lidge yet, but that is the type of player that he described me as.

They always talk about looking for these physical tools. You are a guy who is roughly 6-foot. Do we have to worry about injury history and bad mechanics? You throw the ball at 95 mph and a lot people think you need to be 6-foot-5 to throw the ball like that.

Chris Franklin: The main thing people do not realize is that it is not so much how tall you are, but it is more how strong your lower body is. You need stay in the weight room and concentrate on staying in top physical shape. I think that is the big thing. You need to stay healthy all year round.

What is your best moment in baseball and why?

Chris Franklin: Breaking the single season saves record was rather special. The guy that had it before me was a fourth-round pick. He came back and worked out with me. When I was able to break that single season saves record, it was pretty special to me.

What would your teammates say about your demeanor on the mound and how you handle yourself out there?

Chris Franklin: The big thing they would say is that they felt that when I was out there, we were going to win the game. They would come up to me, when I had the ball in the ninth inning, and tell me the game was over. The mental side I brought to the game was one where I wanted to be in the position where it was up to me to either win or lose the game.

What are you looking forward to in Major League Baseball.

Chris Franklin: I am looking forward to having a job that I love going to every day. That is something that a lot of people can't say. I will actually be able to get up and go play baseball. I look forward to the opportunity to move up and make it to the Major Leagues one day.

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