Many of the Atlanta Braves’ top power-hitting prospects have graduated to the major leagues in recent years. Between Austin Riley, William Contreras, and Michael Harris II, the Braves have added a lot of offensive firepower to their roster, but it is fair to say that this particular well hasn’t exactly been replenished of late. It hasn’t helped that the guy who is left with arguably the most raw power in the system, Jesse Franklin V, had a pretty big setback during his 2022 campaign.
Preseason Report Card
We were somewhat bullish on Franklin coming into the season, as we had him as the 12th-best prospect in the Braves’ farm system. The hit tool was certainly a question, but he looked like Babe Ruth for a stretch at Rome and the power showed up consistently in games. That was enough for us to at least have him knocking on the door of the top 10 despite some flaws in his game.
What we saw in 2022
Unfortunately, we didn’t get much to see from Franklin in 2022, as he only played in 15 games for Mississippi (more on that in a bit). During that time at Double-A, he slashed .236/.333/.400 with a pair of homers. He continued to showcase a questionable hit tool that he somewhat offset with the ability to draw walks at a good clip. 18 strikeouts in 66 plate appearance is not ideal, but also not an unusual rate for a power-hitting prospect early in a season.
We were waiting to see if Franklin would be able to catch lightning in a bottle again in Double-A and show off his impressive raw power, but it was reported that Franklin had injured his elbow in late April and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He missed the rest of the 2022 season as a result.
Franklin had injury issues before he was a pro, so he has already had to play catch-up with his development once. However, recovery from a UCL repair is not usually as intense for position players as it is for pitchers, and everything we have heard is that he should be good to go for Spring Training in 2023. The question becomes how much rust the 23-year-old Franklin will have to shake off upon his return. Our best guess is that he will repeat at Double-A to start the 2023 season. After that, we will just have to see how he looks, but if he rakes, he could get to Triple-A in a hurry.