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Cubs Prospect Perspective: Kohl Franklin

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He missed the entire 2021 season, a key year of development.

Casey McDonald/South Bend Cubs

For most of my Prospect Perspectives, much of what I include will be information I’ve gathered through the years. In some cases, the wayback machine will be useful. For some, the most current season will be the most useful. For today’s topic, none of that is paticularly useful. Even if I could give you a completely valid lineup of pitch specifics and rankings from his most recent public outings? What difference does 2019 make on a player coming back from health concerns? How severe were the health concerns? None of us know much about that, either; by design. Nonetheless, here’s a look at recently names Kohl Franklin.

Kohl Franklin, right-handed pitcher

Born September 9, 1999, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Cubs 2018 6th Round Draft Pick (Broken Arrow High School)

Franklin’s family is steeped in MLB knowledge. He’s the nephew of former MLB pitcher Ryan Franklin, and the son of a baseball agent (Jay Franklin), so it would be tough to “pull a fast one” on Franklin. The 6-4 right-handed pitcher was better than the old Short-Season Northwest League in 2019 in ten starts, and earned a cameo in the then-Midwest League for South Bend.

Expected to be in South Bend in 2021, this time as an Advanced-A player, Franklin missed the entire season of minor league regular season games. Occasionally I catch flak for not guessing what a pitcher is going to do, or what his estimated time of arrival is. “If you’re actually interested? Listen. They all have audio streams.”

His fastball range back in 2019 was in the 92-95 sort of range. Is that where he’ll be when he toes the slab for someone in 2022? Pitchers, over a two year absence, will change, sometimes to their betterment. Sometimes less so. The one thing I’m reasonably confident with is that more players could have been developed in 2020 if ownership would have allowed more than 60 players to develop between the MLB club and the alternate site. The “60 players between the two” was completely the choice of owners, choosing wealth retention over a better product.

I really wish I could give a more detailed search into Franklin as a prospect, but there’s nothing new to add. He’s a fastball, curve, change guy, or was at his last look. It also might have been fun if his rumored 2022 inclusion on the Solar Sox roster had been accurate. Look for him to be in Mesa for minor-league spring training. How he does there will determine his starting point in April.