Results tagged ‘ Nick Franklin ’

Franklin Makes Jump to West Tenn

All-Star shortstop Nick Franklin called to double-A Diamond Jaxx


The Clinton LumberKings, in conjunction with the Seattle Mariners have announced the promotion of shortstop Nick Franklin to double-A West Tennessee. 


The 19-year-old Franklin turned heads across the Midwest in 2010, hitting .281 with 22 doubles, seven triples, 23 home runs, 65 RBI and 25 steals in 129 games.  In his final game with the LumberKings yesterday in Burlington, Franklin lifted his 23rd homer to take the league lead and break Clinton’s 49-year-old franchise record for single-season clouts (22, hit by Dick Kenworthy of the 1961 Clinton C-Sox).


Seattle’s first-round pick (27th overall) out of Lake Brantley High School (FL), Franklin was both a Midwest League Mid-Season All-Star in Fort Wayne, IN this year and a Post-Season All-Star.  The 16 managers of the league voted him as the top shortstop.  Franklin leaves the league amidst leaders in total bases (3rd with 249), runs scored (T-4th with 88), at-bats per HR ratio (4th with a HR per 22.30 at-bats), slugging percentage (9th at .485) and OPS (10th at .837).


No counter move has been made to replace Franklin.  The active Clinton roster stands at 24 players.


The LumberKings open the 2010 Midwest League West Division Quarterfinals at home against Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, September 8 at 6:30 PM.  For tickets and more information, call 563-242-0727 or visit the LumberKings’ main office at Alliant Energy Field.


Revisit my interviews with Nick during this 2010 season:



King Clinch, Franklin Belts #23

And all is right in LumberKing-land.  Despite their third-straight loss (6-4 at the hands of Burlington today), the LumberKings are back in the Midwest League Playoffs as the West Division Wild Card.  Clinton’s date with Cedar Rapids in the West Division Quarterfinals was secured today not by a Kings’ victory, but rather a 13-5 win by the Kernels that eliminated any chance for Beloit to catch up.

Unlike the previous night, there was actually bright spots to talk about in the loss for the Kings.  The brightest was Nick Franklin, whose wall-scraping opposite-field homer to left put Clinton ahead 1-0 in the first inning.  That blast was Franklin’s league-leading 23rd of the year and also puts him in a category by himself as Clinton’s best single-season home run hitter.  He had tied former C-Sox second-baseman Dick Kenworthy’s 49-year-old record on the last homestand and now holds the spot all to himself.

Listen Here: 
Franklin 23rd HR (Franchise Record) 9.5.10.mp3

You can hear by the tone of my voice how surprising a home run it was.  It barely got out over the short wall in left.

Unfortunately, that home run would not be enough to get right-hander Erasmo Ramirez and the LumberKings a win.  Burlington spoiled a 4-3 lead on Whit Merrifield’s seventh-inning two-run homer and ran away with the 6-4 victory.  Clinton finishes up the regular season in Burlington tomorrow at 2:00 PM (starting pitcher now TBA) before returning home for an off-day on Tuesday and then gearing up for game one against the Kernels on Wednesday night.

You can begin ordering your playoff tickets starting Tuesday at 10:00 AM by calling the LumberKings at 563-242-0727.  I’ve already got my seat picked out in the home broadcast booth.  Hope to see you there.


Odds and Ends for 8/27

The LumberKings split a doubleheader with Quad Cities last night, losing 5-4 in 10 innings in game one before rebounding for a 6-3 win in game two.  All 10 runs they scored in the game came in two innings, the fourth (game one) and the second (game two).

  • Vinnie Catricala went a combined 2-for-5 in the two games, extending his hitting streak to 15 games.  That’s the longest streak by a LumberKing since Luis Nunez’s 17-game streak last year.  Every long streak needs a bit of luck, and Vinnie received some in game two.  Nick Franklin and Mickey Wiswall each singled with two outs to extend the seventh, and Catricala legged out a bounding baseball up the third-base line for an infield single.
  • Speaking of streaks, Wiswall saw his nine-game streak snapped, while Matt Cerione saw his eight-game streak end as well.  Cerione’s still hitting .411 (23-for-56) in the month of August.
  • Left-hander Jason Markovitz tossed 3.0 scoreless innings in game two, making his first career start in a spot role.  Aside from two walks in his final frame, he looked fairly impressive with a well-controlled fastball and a sharp curveball.
  • Yes, Clinton had their chances to win game one.  Henry Contreras popped up a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and Gabriel Noriega grounded out to end the game with the tying and game-winning runs in scoring position in the bottom of the 10th.  It’s a tough way for those chances to end, but you can’t blame either one for being aggressive at the plate.  You don’t want to see Contreras watch strike three in his situation, and you don’t want to see Noriega take good pitches either the way he’s been stinging the ball lately.
  • Outfielder Daniel Carroll was activated from the disabled list today and shipped up to high-A High Desert.  Seattle’s third-round pick in 2007, Carroll last played with the Mavs in 2008.  Here’s hoping he finishes the season strong and stays above the Midwest League.
  • Franklin remains just one homer shy of the single-season franchise record.  Maybe tonight’s the night to tie Dick Kenworthy.  As for the team, the Kings lead the league with 124 team home runs, surpassing (what we think is) the franchise record of 115, set by the 2008 LumberKings.
  • Erasmo Ramirez lowered his ERA to 2.70 yesterday, second in the Midwest League.  He’s closing in on Kane County lefty Ian Krol (2.65) for the ERA title and would be Clinton’s second-straight ERA champ (Kenn Kasparek, 2.41 ERA last year).
  • With 12 games remaining, the Kings remain ahead of Kane County by 2.0 games for the top playoff spot in the West.  Following tonight’s game, they finish the season with five games in Peoria, three at home against Beloit and three on the road at Burlington.

All those notes and more in tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.27.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Yoervis Medina (4-0, 2.74) makes his fifth start for the LumberKings as they wrap-up a four-game series against the Bandits.  First pitch is at 6:30 PM, listen online at


Franklin Highlighted on MWL Notebook Again

Nick Franklin is again the feature of this week’s MWL Notebook, penned by Curt Rallo.  Amongst topics covered is Franklin’s pursuit of Clinton’s 49-year-old single-season home run record.  Nick hit his 21st blast of the night and is now just one shy of tying Dick Kenworthy (22 HR for the 1961 Clinton C-Sox) for the top spot.

Check out the article here:


Franklin, Ramirez Named Post-Season All-Stars

In case you didn’t see it via…

Clinton, IA – Clinton LumberKings shortstop Nick Franklin and right-hander Erasmo Ramirez have been named Midwest League Post-Season All-Stars by the Field Managers of the league’s 16 teams.  The entire list was announced today by president George Spelius from the Midwest League office in Beloit, WI.


Both Franklin and Ramirez were voted as mid-season All-Stars and join the likes of Matt Adams (Quad Cities), Scooter Gennett (Wisconsin), Ian Krol (Kane County) and league Prospect of the Year and MVP Mike Trout (Cedar Rapids) on the list of the league’s best.


The 19-year-old Franklin, Seattle’s first-round pick (27th overall) out of Lake Brantley High School (FL) has enjoyed a memorable first full season in professional baseball.  Ranked the ninth-best prospect in the entire Mariners’ organization prior to the season by Baseball America, Franklin has gone on to hit .284 (129-for-454) with 20 doubles, seven triples, 20 home runs (2nd most in the MWL) and 57 RBI and has stolen 23 bases in 34 attempts.  The Longwood, FL native is just two homers shy of tying Clinton’s own single-season franchise record of 22, set back in 1961.


Ramirez, 20, came to the LumberKings in mid-April after an award-winning 2009 campaign.  He was the Mariners’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009, going 11-1 with a 0.51 ERA with Aguirre of the Venezuela Summer League.  In 2010, Ramirez has proved worthy of All-Star status as the league’s top right-handed starter.  He’s 10-4 with the league’s second-best ERA of 2.75 and also ranks amongst league leaders in WHIP (2nd at 1.04), fewest walks per 9.0 innings for starters (2nd at 1.17) and fewest baserunners per 9.0 innings for starters (3rd at 10.36).


Great Lakes Loons’ manager Juan Bustabad took home the Manager of the Year award.  A full list of the All-Star selections can be viewed at

I’ll be talking about the All-Star selections on tonight’s pregame show in lieu of an interview (I’ve interviewed both Franklin and Ramirez recently, as well as their manager John Tamargo).  One thing I MIGHT bring up is the double selection of South Bend’s Matt Davidson as both the third-baseman and DH.  He’s certainly deserving of ONE selection, but what about the now-forgotten Jerry Sands of the Loons for DH?  Or Clinton’s own Vinnie Catricala?  It’s worth thinking about.

There’s plenty to catch up on in tonight’s Game Notes following last night’s 3-1 win over Peoria.  Left-hander Nick Czyz tossed seven innings of one-run baseball and Catricala went 3-for-4 with the game-tying home run and an RBI single for insurance.  Mickey Wiswall had the game-winner on a seeing-eye single, and the bullpen combo of right-hander Jonathan Arias (H, 1) and Forrest Snow (S, 4) held on to the slim margin.

The Notes: 
8.24.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (3-1, 2.55) has a key fifth start tonight as he looks to prove that the 4.2-inning, six-run blowup from his last outing is only a brief misstep in his magical 2010 season.  He’s on the hill for the finale against the Chiefs tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen online at


Tonight’s Interview: Nick Franklin (Vol. 4)

franklin3.JPGThe LumberKings won for the 14th time in the last 20 games last night, hanging on for a 6-4 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits last night.  Clinton amassed an early 5-0 lead and did just enough to protect it against the hard-charging Bandits, winning for the fifth time in their last six games at Modern Woodmen Park.  Right-hander Taylor Stanton improved to 10-6 with the win, becoming just the fifth MWL pitcher to reach a double-digit win total.

The Kings were able to grab that early lead off right-hander Eric Fornataro thanks to a breakout performance from shortstop Nick Franklin.  In what was amazingly just his second four-hit game this season, Franklin recorded three singles and his 19th double, finishing 4-for-5 with two runs scored in the #2 spot in the order.

Franklin had an eye-opening first half, hitting .299 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI to earn a midseason All-Star selection.  Since then, the 19-year-old first-round pick has come down to earth a bit, hitting .244 with five home runs and 17 RBI.  Pitchers have started to change their approach to Franklin in using more offspeed pitches, but he as well has started to adjust as a hitter.

Those adjustments have come in a multitude of ways, which Nick talks about on the pregame interview tonight.  From extra cage sessions with hitting coach Terry Pollreisz to “fight the virus” to using an old high school drill (hitting lima beans with a broomstick) to increase his visual acuity to pumping himself up with — get this — Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” (which I incorrectly identify as a Genesis song).  Those topics and more are discussed tonight.

Listen Here: 
Franklin Interview 8.20.10.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.20.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (10-4, 2.60) will have a difficult time reprising his 12-strikeout performance from his last start in the Quad Cities, but the LumberKings would certainly be happy with six good innings and a series win in his 20th start tonight.  The game begins at 7:00 PM, listen online at


A Crazy Night in the QC

In case you missed it last night, the LumberKings rallied from 6-0, 7-5 and 10-9 deficits to beat the rival Quad Cities River Bandits 12-11 in 11 innings last night at Modern Woodmen Park. 

Everybody played a role last night, but Henry Contreras was especially clutch with a game-tying RBI single in the fifth and game-tying sacrifice fly with one out in the ninth.  Vinnie Catricala got the game-winning RBI with his second hit of the game, an infield single off the mound that scored Nick FranklinMario Martinez ended up with the RBI single that provided the all-important insurance, driving home Catricala with a grounder to left.

The Kings also played amazing defense.  I counted at least five highlight-reel plays, from Matt Cerione’s leaping catch at the wall to rob Devin Goodwin of a homer in the first to his sliding grab in the sixth to take the bat out of the hands of Matt Adams, to Martinez’s lunging stab to take away a two-run single from Edgar Lara in the fourth to a James Jones-Franklin-Martinez relay to get greedy Luis Mateo at third base in the 10th.  Without those key outs, the LumberKings do not win last night’s game.

Highlights from a night’s worth of clutch:

A fun night in the QC, let’s do it again tonight.


7/18 Game Notes and Musings

The combination of limited time and a cancelled pregame show from last night means the Terry Pollreisz interview will air on today’s pregame show.  However, it’s not like there weren’t plenty of performers worth talking to in last night’s 6-0 win over South Bend.

In three starts heading into last night’s contest, left-hander Jimmy Gillheeney had already been impressive.  After a second-straight outing of 7.0 scoreless innings, it’s hard to categorize Gillheeney as anything but the hottest pitcher in the Midwest League.  He most likely won’t win the MWL Pitcher of the Week award as his previous scoreless start came last Sunday, but he certainly deserves to be the first 2010 King to capture a league award.  Consider this paragraph my “Gilly for Pitcher of the Week” campaign ploy.

The offense was efficient last night, producing six runs on nine hits, including three extra-base hits.  Vinnie Catricala was the star, aptly busting out as Pollreisz had predicted with a 2-for-3, double, HR, three-RBI game.  The home run came on a hit-and-run in the fifth as Tim Morris took off, then slowed up to watch Cat’s majestic ball land on the left-field berm.  Mario Martinez added a flare double to right but also struck out three times and stranded four on base, and the other two RBI belonged to Blake Ochoa and Gabriel Noriega.  It’s good to see production from multiple parts of the order on a night when Daniel Carroll, James Jones and Nick Franklin went a collective 1-for-12 in the 1-3 spots.

It’s tough to be a Silver Hawk right now…Mark Haley’s club hasn’t scored in 27 innings, spanning three games.  Part of me wants them to score today, but maybe on an unearned run after Clinton has already built an eight-run lead.

Getting to the payoff of this post, here’s today’s Game Notes and some highlights from last night:

It’s Kings-Hawks in game two of this three-game series today as left-hander Nick Czyz (1-1, 2.96) makes his fifth start of the season.  First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM, listen online at  I promise we’ll have a pregame show today.


On the Bright Side (July 16 Edition)

Thumbnail image for brightside.jpgI didn’t want to have to do another one of these this year, but I guess it’s time.  The LumberKings fell 7-1 to the East Division’s last-place team, the West Michigan Whitecaps last night.

The game was closer than the six-run deficit leads on.  Heading into the seventh, the Kings trailed 2-1, but the bullpen surrendered five runs over the final three innings as the ‘Caps put the game away.

There wasn’t much to cheer about in the loss (Clinton’s fourth in the last six games), but at least we have the following to be happy about:

  • Right-hander Nolan Gallagher, despite the one run of offensive support he’s received in three starts, has been fairly impressive.  Over his last two outings (11.1 IP), he’s limited opponents to three runs on 12 hits for an ERA of 2.38.  Now, if only the former fourth-round pick out of Stanford could just get a few runs.
  • Following an 11-game homer drought, Nick Franklin has lifted off twice in the last three games.  His solo homer in the first inning off right-hander Victor Larez was all of Clinton’s offense last night (listen:
    Franklin Solo HR (#16) 7.15.10.mp3)…he’s now tied for second in the MWL in blasts alongside Wisconsin’s Khris Davis.  Oh, and don’t worry about that early exit after a hit-by-pitch last night, Franklin is back in the starting nine this evening.
  • James Jones saw his hitting streak snapped at six games last night, but still played a role in the outcome.  He recorded two outfield assists (and now leads the club with 10), including the start of a 9-3-2 play at the plate to get Jamie Johnson in the eighth (listen: 
    Jones-Morris-Ochoa play at plate 7.15.10.mp3).
  • Even with the downswing, the Kings are still just 1.5 games behind the first-place duo of Quad Cities and Kane County.  There’s plenty of second half to go.
  • As always, you still get LumberKings Game Notes
    7.16.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Taylor Stanton (6-4, 3.63) makes his 15th start of the year in the series finale against the Whitecaps tonight, first pitch scheduled for 7:00 PM.  Listen online at


Odds and Ends from the All-Star Game

parkview entrance.jpgThe 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game took place at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana last night, and in case you missed it, the East continued its run of dominance with a 6-2 win over the West.  Great Lakes’ Jerry Sands — the league home run leader — belted a first-inning opposite-field shot that proved to be the difference, helping him earn the “Star of Stars” award.  You can read plenty more about the game and also check out the final box score here:  Sands Powers East to All-Star Win

I spent part of the game shooting video from Press Row in the luxury suites, part of it on the radio with Mike Maahs of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (I might have audio of my sixth inning play-by-play, including Nick Franklin’s infield single to post in the near future) and part of it down in the seats behind home plate.  I must say, the TinCaps put on an excellent show and impressed a lot of folks.

I captured some video on your Kings in action, but it’s going to take some time to edit before it’s ready.  In the meantime, enjoy some photos and a pre-All-Star interview with the derby rep himself, Nick Franklin.

Listen Here: 
Franklin ASG Interview 6.22.10.mp3

catricala asg 1.jpg

Vinnie Catricala takes some cuts during the optional West Division batting practice.

franklin asg 1.jpg

Franklin gets in some BP as well.

Erasmo Ramirez, Brian Moran, Catricala and Franklin

asg anthem.jpg

More video (hopefully) to follow in the next few days.  Oh yeah, and the LumberKings start the second half on Friday.  No rest for the weary.