What next for Danny Hultzen and Nick Franklin?
By Shannon Drayer
Danny Hultzen and Nick Franklin arrived in Tacoma Wednesday afternoon and now the question is, how long will they be there?
That, in large part, will be up to them. Hultzen will make his first start Saturday in Colorado Springs. The organizational philosophy has been to move players when they have shown they can dominate at the level they are at, and it took little time for Hultzen to show that at AA. The competition at AAA will not be much different for the most part. He will run into more experienced hitters so it will be a matter of how he uses his stuff because make no mistake, the stuff is there. I suspect his stay at AAA will not be long.
For Franklin, the situation may or may not be different. The Mariners could look to get him a good number of at bats at AAA or they could move him quickly like they did Kyle Seager, who spent all of 12 games at AAA before being called up a year ago.
Where Franklin will play will be interesting to watch. Rainiers manager Daren Brown said Franklin would play short, second and possibly third. How much at those positions other than short remains to be seen. I found it curious that Franklin had played more second in the weeks leading up to his call-up to AAA. Carlos Triunfel is the everyday shortstop in Tacoma and there is still interest in him at that position. Brown said Triunfel would not be on the move. He will either play short or DH.
The question in my mind is this: has Franklin been playing more at second so both he and Triunfel can get a good amount of playing time or is Franklin being looked at as a second baseman? And if so, is Dustin Ackley heading to the outfield?
We will see what shakes out. For now, if you want to see these two in Tacoma you might want to hurry.