Boone Time for Nick Franklin?
Eyes slideways for the gun show


Lonnie of MC, who has been very reliable, sez


I can't believe that the greater Seattle internet intelligencia isn't blowing up over this little tid bit of information that came out this past weekend. During the off season Nick Franklin went from 160 lbs to 195 lbs. That is an increase of 35 lbs of bash-brother muscle! I can't wait to see him in action! Doing this tells me that he is preparing to transition from SS to 2nd or even 3rd base.


So, we're looking at an imminent roids ban eh.  Michael Morse got dinged on it ... when he was a minor leaguer, before he had the MLBPA behind him, that is.

Our resident boot camp instructor offers a more hopeful scenario:


Bat571Actually, having been around 19-22 year old sailors for my naval career, then around high schoolers in my second career, and having sent 2 19-year old boys on 2-year church missions, I wouldn't be too alarmed at a gain from rail-thin to Ackley's size. And I bet Ryan is about 190 (B-ref says 195 for him, too.), So, I know Florida is under suspicion, but I would guess Franklin is clean.
Bat571I went to boot camp at 128 lbs and came out after 11 weeks at 158. I weighed between 155-160 for 25 years in the canoe club. When a kid grows, he grows.

Two things:

My son's best friend is doing his 5-star hotel night as I type this, before flying off to boot camp in the USAF (sorry Bat!).  I watched him use P90X to gain 40 pounds of muscle in three months ... well, he claims it's 40.  Maybe it was 28.  Or 31.  Or something.  The kid was skinny and now he's got guns.  He had trouble curling 30's more than a few reps and now, three months on, he concentration-curls the 50's like a rat pressing a bar.

Without a doubt, age has a lot to do with it.  Incidentally it was at age 21 (as Franklin is now) that Ken Griffey Jr came back to training camp, bugging everybody's eyes out, looking like a gorilla (compared to the teenage Kid, that is).


By the way we just went through this bit at BJOL:


Willie Mays is listed at 5'10", 170 lbs. on Hank Aaron is listed at 6'0", 180.
It doesn't really seem feasible in today's game for a person weighing 170-180 lbs. to hit 40 homers a year. That can't really be because pitchers throw so hard that they now knock the bat out of 170-pounders' hands; velocity is about the same now as in the 1960's, right? Perhaps the conditions of an AB have become a little tougher, so that batters don't have time to load up quite as much as Mays and Aaron were able to, and the batter's strength becomes more important ...
Put another way: do you believe that Aaron, Mays, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks, etc. would still hit 500+ homers in today's game? If so, wondering where those 180-pound cleanup hitters are today. - thanks, Jeff
Asked by: jemanji
Answered: 1/25/2013
Pitchers throw harder now than they did in the 1960s. .. or this:  there are MORE hard-throwing pitchers now than there were in the 1960s.   
There's a lot there to unpack.    Those listed weights tend to be what the player weighed when he came to the major leagues, rather than what he weighed in mid-career.   They also list Juan Gonzalez as weighing 175 pounds, Sammy Sosa at 165 (!!), and Nomar at 167.  
Willie was 5-10, 5-10 1/2, but muscular.     I don't have any doubt that he could hit homers in today's game.    



Great point:  Juan Gone was listed at 175 as a rook, and probably actually weighed about that.  Aaron, Mays, etc., these guys came to the bigs at 18, 19.  Guys do gain size at 18, 19, 20, 21, 22.  Sometimes a lot of it.


You also can gain if you haven't lifted weights much.  At age 50, I managed to gain 10+ pounds of lean mass in 90 days -- because I hadn't lifted in years and years.  If there is traction to this one, it's precisely in the fact that Franklin was under developed prior to this year.  Which of course is why he slid in the draft...

The 90-day cycle is all the rage these days.  You go in there and blast it, super intense, and yes you can make stunning gains over a winter's time.  ... Not by just working out.  We're talking about pedal to the metal, doing everything you're possibly capable of, day in and day out.

Adding it all up ... if Nick Franklin was all these things

  • Young
  • Pretty skinny
  • Hadn't ever lifted much
  • Is a real dirt-dog gym rat who has a berserker mode he applied to bodybuilding

And if he got a mad on, crushed the barbells, it wouldn't be weird for him put on 20, 25 lbs. of muscle or whatever.  And it's not impossible that his strength -- in terms of the amount of weight he can lift -- doubled, or something.  The 35 lbs. in four months is probably exaggerated; I'm thinking he went from like 168 to 192 and also was three pounds overweight or somesuch.  Doesn't change the implications.


Here, check out the exact delta in performance for this middle infielder, whose SLG went from .421 to .578 when he added 20 lbs.  Yes, virginia, a big gain in the weight room can mean a big gain in the SLG column.  Like from league average, to leading the league in SLG.

Here's that 9-part series on the surpassing glory of Nick Franklin's left hand swing.  

If this kid really did go from a rookie 175-lb. bench press to a gym rat 275-lb bench press -- if that is actually what happened, that Franklin went from a wimp to a beast in the gym -- then I would promote him on the prospect charts by several miles.

Show me a kid who really does have 17-inch biceps this spring and I'll show you a kid who's worth more than K-Pax or Taijuan.  ... I don't say that he does have them.

Might have to get down to Arizona next month...


Dr D 



M-Pops's picture
Linked article from November has Franklin at 6'1, 180 lbs. Jim Edmonds, incidently, is listed as 6'1, 190 lbs.
Franklins' LH load and swing path have always reminded of Jimme Baseball. Both players were selected out of HS and will take a similar path to the bigs, it's looking like.
What would this team look like with a Jim Edmonds at SS?


I still dump Raul and "McLemore" Franklin at 4 positions.
Tell me if you would rather have Andino as your principal BU infielder or Nick?
I suppose that it is tempting to play him everyday in AAA....but I'm really only in on that if he's our '14 SS (likely Miller0 or if we're trying to get rid of his RH swing.

M's Watcher's picture

Nice catch. It got me thinking about when he started lifting. It doesn't seem the minor league schedule lends itself much to that, though I could easily be wrong, now that the M's have tried to incorporate modern strength and conditioning. It seems he already added some to his "power source", and now that and maybe guns, too. Can't wait to see what this does for him.

Steen's picture

Even if we assume it's all LBM, 35 pounds is a huge amount to gain on that frame. Correct me if I'm mistaken but he's never been considered super fleet of foot. Could this be a sign the org has made a decision to move him out of the middle infield?

Billbo's picture

At what point does it make sense for the Mariners to consider moving Ackley back to CF to make room for the middle infielders coming up? Between Ackley, Seager, Franklin and Miller one of them will have to move out of the IF or be moved in a trade. If we believe reports that Miller is more likely than Franklin to stick at SS then the logical move to me is to put Ackley back in CF to make room for a Seager/Franklin at 3B/2B* combo. Also, given the increased value that prospects are getting by having MLB service time, the Mariners would probably be best served by getting all of these guys into the lineup as soon as they are ready, even if the master plan is to trade some of them for a "Stanton" down the road.
Either way, moving Ackley to CF would solve a lot of problems for this team including solving some of the corner OF problems by having Saunders and Morse in RF/LF respectively. This team could be seriously loaded as soon as this year if a couple kids take the step forward that their baseball cards suggest they can/should.
*I'm not sure if Franklin has experience at 3B but it would be worth looking at optimal positions given Seager's true position is 2B and Franklin has the arm for 3B and apparently has added the size as well


Nearly won the GG. We've invested three years in the move. Unlikely to be undone. Romero is evidently going to get some LF/RF time this season. We see the logjam and we're working around it.

Lonnie of MC's picture

... to my ears (and anyone else's who wants to take the time to listen). Franklin stated that he went from 160 lbs at the end of the 2012 season to his current weight of 195 lbs. He is using a combination of things, but the one thing that he noted was that he is on a diet of 6200 calories a day.
Here's the video:
Franklin talks about his weight gain at the 2:16 point.
Something to keep in mind is that Franklin has a history of losing weight as a season progresses.

Lonnie of MC's picture

There is no way in the world that a sailor can put on that kind of weight when you consider the crap food they fed/feed you poor stiffs. The only place to get decent food is in the Air Force
Lonnie Mathis
USAF, Retired.


Sorry to hear about your friend's son and the Chair Farce ;-) (Actually, one of my daughters just finished a 6-year stint in the AF - but she intentionally wanted to break her old man's heart :-( -- in actual fact, her maternal grandfather was a USAAF B-29 pilot who won the DFC over Japan. My Dad was USN submarine force, and his brothers Navy aviation and Marines, so she had her choice)
Weight gain at age 18-22 can be triggered by stress, by working out harder than before, eating more and better, or just maturing. Boot camp, at least until the early 70s, definitely was both stress and hard physical activity! My weight gain, for example, was from a somewhat depressed start (I'd had mono the previous year), but the gain was steady, and I ate voraciously whatever the chow hall served. When it was done, I was in the BSOML. It was evenly distibuted strength and significant endurance. Lots of sailors gain significant weight at boot camp and/or their first duty station because the activity drives it, but also because it's natural at that age to "fill out".
For Nick, it'll be interesting to see. If it comes from weightlifting, he may indeed have big "guns". If it was from a more general workout program, maturing, and increasing input (6200 calories would be more than boot camp, where I believe it used to be 4000-5000 depending on how fast you could eat), I would expect him to be heavier around the shoulders, hips, and thighs. If he did enough running (double-timing with gear and rifle?), he might be both stronger and quicker. His endurance might be massively improved. But again, he's gone from rail-thin to Ackley's & Ryan's size - we might not have noticed without Lonnie's intel. In the vids from fan-fest, wearing a jacket, he just looks healthy and upbeat.
On the NIMITZ class carriers, it's 18 flights of stairs (ladders) from the turbine condensors in the machinery rooms to the bridge where the Captain usually is. No elevators (those are for planes and bombs). Running that path 2-3 times a day during an upkeep can keep you fit. Endurance was a necessity. Couldn't do it anymore.


Adding to Moe's point, Ackley has never played much outfield and his throwing are is his worst tool, so it is not clear he is well suited for centerfield. Moving him to LF would be a complete shame. I suggest we trade the surplus (if we really have one) for players where we are weak.


Relaxed in the box, extra bat wrap just for an instant, as opposed to in Ackley style .., very fluid in Will Clark style, throw the bat head and let the top hand come off in Junior style, quick enough to get on top of high heat ... Edmonds does remind.  Good call Pops.  Here's one of Edmonds' more notable swings.
What would the M's, or any team, look like with Jim Edmonds at short?  Like the 1909 Pirates, I would think :- ) ... one good hitter, the SS at 177 OPS+, and a 110-44 record.
Or, the Mariners could probably figure out a way to look like the 1958-59 Cubs... SS winning the league MVP back-to-back while the ballclub stays under .500...


At this point he seems to have kinda transcended that idea, hadn' 'e?
The M's looooooove to delay free agency so we presume that Franklin has to kill it in AAA and Ackley has to struggle before they even accept the Problem Report Memo on their desks.  But yeah, there is a real traffic jam shaping up at this point.  
Standing O for the M's player development team; they done GREAT.  And no, the M's don't need to win in Safeco before we congratulate the development guys.  I'm out of my mind with admiration for our system right now.


He said in other circumstances, you might not worry about it as much, but the guy in charge of those 1st-round picks (forget his name) was on such a roll you hate to take away his chance to pick again.
I would agree.  For the Mariners right now, giving up a #12 overall isn't like giving up a Grade B prospect.  It's like giving up a top 50, top 100 prospect.  Odd circumstances for them.


... so it's interesting to remember that they didn't mind him being, pretty much, their only option in CF for quite a while.
I tend to agree, though; he could band-aid CF for you but he's looking real solid in the middle infield and, as you say, it would be a shame to move a blue-chipper from a tough position he's doing great with, and move him to an easier position that he'd maybe have struggles with.
Fact is, it is a possibility for Ackley to play CF though.  Maybe he's going to wind up being Ben Zobrist?


This is a typical Lonnie of MC neon-light announcement.  Goes right up there with your K-Pax video, your Capps red alert, and all your others.
Lonnie's video has 20+ minutes of Franklin and Zunino there amigos.  Franklin (under a big coat) doesn't look roided; he looks reasonably strong and moderately built, but he used to look like Ichiro.  He seems to have gone from like Ichiro to Seager, as it were.  Just a guess.
But let's say that you gave Seager's upper body to Ichiro.


Makes us civilians feel like we're in on something.
And thanks very sincerely for your service, sirs.  Am doing some writing for the Ft. Lewis Ranger and have come to appreciate (even more) that the history of the U.S. military is a course education in loyalty, duty and honor.  
America is proud of its armed forces, but not proud enough.  Never in the history of mankind has there been such an awesome force that acted with as much honor.  And it isn't like America's public schools -- who live under the blanket of freedom provided for them by others -- are going to apprise young people of those facts.


My first 2-3 months of getting back into shape, did nothing other than run the stairs in my house, 16 stairs in a straight shot, times 80 or 100 or 120 flights or whatnot and I needed days off in between 'cause I was getting tendinitis and stuff.  Had to wear loose clothing, wound up soaking 2 shirts in sweat etc.
Personally, I would be able to handle the cardio of your stairs and ladders, but my calves, knees and ankles would NOT hold up without days off.  Could. Not. Do it.
And if there were many steps in those 18 flights, up and back down, I can't imagine wearing the same clothes to work in all day :- )


I was going, who is that?  Like Rocky Graziano?  And then your post nailed it.  Boxer.


That's what he says, yeah, and he doesn't say six thousand.  He says 6200.  It would be more of a chore to enter the food into the phone app, than it would be to actually eat it ...
So the guy has put on 20, 30 pounds this winter.  Wow.  You don't want to trade him now.  Hope Jay-Z wasn't kidding about the Upton names being inaccurate.

M's Watcher's picture

Maybe this isn't all so suspicious or surprising if he lost weight down to 160 during the season, then has regained the lost weight, plus some more added pounds in the off-season. Baseball-Ref lists him at 180# but when was that? Let's hope he can stay strong during the seasons as he develops, and I look forward to seeing him in Tacoma and Seattle.


I found a few that were interesting.
The year Mike Piazza was said to gain 20 lbs is the year he was injured and put up his lowest SLG% to date. That was his last few months with the Dodgers. Interesting 1st find because I have no trouble thinking of recent Mariners who gained a bunch and got injured within months. Not going to claim a "Verducci effect"on that, but it's worth considering. Could be random though. Jason Heyward was said to have gained 20 lbs in 2010 with no severe injury that year. Brandon Inge in 2009 was said to have gained 20, saw a very slight uptick in SLG and no injury. Julio Lugo in 2009 was said to have gained between 5 and 20 lbs and got injured that spring. Paul Lo Duca going into 2004 gained about 20 lbs that showed no obvious effect. Hanley Ramirez going into 2009 having gained 25 lbs of muscle, had a steak of 3 years previous being well over.500 SLG and hadn't surpassed it since. Russell Martin in 2010, 25 lbs, minor spring injury, no real change otherwise.
These aren't necessarily comps for Franklin, just running with checking on either injury or improved SLG. From what I'm seeing, MLB regulars adding weight seems more likely to result in injury than improved SLG. Franklin is not an MLB regular, so Heyward is the only somewhat comparable in the list. It's hard to really say what effect it had on Heyward.


I agree Doc,
I think he's gone beyond that, but I'm trying to find a way to get him in Safeco this year. Don't see any other way. I think I would prefer we do that and then just give him first dibs on the SS role next year.
But as a guy who could get 25 starts in Tacoma and then another 80 or so in Safeco (if you let him get some LF time), I think I like that a lot more than 145 games in AAA. Better for his development, too.


and Cheers to that. Truly meteoric rise to a previously unprecedented level in Mariners history. People can underrate that for another couple years, but I'm certain it will be understood well in hindsight.


but what's the weight difference between Rickey Hendersons thighs and those of a gangly prospect? Where was the weight added and how?


I was an up-from-the-ranks type. After 9 years as an enlisted, including 5 1/2 years on the cruiser USS BAINBRIDGE (CGN25), I was commissioned (I was then a CPO). I then served to Lieutenant Commander as a nuclear propulsion maintenance specialist, mainly at shipyards, but with a tour on USS NIMITZ (CVN68) as a principal assistant to the Reactor Officer. My last tour was XO of the honor crew of Historic Ship NAUTILUS (SSN571) in Groton, CT.


had the worst OF arm I can recall ever seeing and I'd take his prime in CF over most of the options right now.
Depends how you like Leon Landry, whether you target Ellsbury next offseason, how Guti looks this year, etc. . CF may not be a need next year our the year after. Right now with how Ackley looks at 2nd and the rest of the roster, it might take 2 injuries and a Franklin/Miller/Romero breakout for me to consider moving him.


I think that a kid from 18-22 that "fills out" is less of an injury risk than someone that's 30 that suddenly gains. The growing body has an opportunity to adjust, whereas the 30-year-old is more likely to strain (i.e., rip) something the 20-year-old would have stretched. I defer to others with a medical or PT background, but I believe that is consistent with the examples.


varies - but it's 180+ vertical feet plus jogs because there are no continuous vertical shafts below the flight deck. So it's a hike. But the Captain has to approve certain types of maintenance personally, so the principal assistant in charge of the work has to go get the approval. The steps are aluminum with non-skid attached, so there is no give to cushion the knees up or down.


It makes sense and, as you say, fits the examples I found. Finding perfect comps would not likely seem to say anything in regard to SLG since it would include the AAA to MLB jump to make anything really inconclusive.
I think it would also depend on their starting weight and where they added it. Someone starting at 165 adding 20 lbs to their upper body seems different than 215+20 with a full body regimen.


Re: Lonnie and AF vs. Navy food
Idaho potatoes are (were) a major component of the Navy diet, so speak softly or never show your face around Rockford/Blackfoot/SE Idaho. Denise Austin is paid lots of bucks to say that they're nutritious and good for you.
We had AF pilots come out to the Nimitz in the aftermath of Desert Storm to get a decent meal. Chuck Norris also proclaimed our (Nimitz) food as wonderful. And that's without even starting on what sub sailors eat (yum!). Of course, now it's all contracted out except for shipboard, so the shore mess halls are now as bad as the AF. Boot Campers probably ARE choking on the pseudo-AF slop.
L.B. 'Bat' Barton
USN, retired

Arne's picture

I'm checking in late here, but I was at the Franklin-Zunino talk at Safeco where the weight gain was mentioned. I don't know-I hadn't really seen Franklin before, but he didn't look especially large, especially next to Zunino. Franklin looked to me like a lean and trim guy about 21, medium height, who you might call wiry, but no more.

Fett42's picture

I've seen a lot of Soldiers gain 20-40 lbs of muscle over a deployment with nothing but weights, protein shakes, and time.


For those who just joined us, there are guys who manage their weight just by drinking whey shakes or not.  With the creatine.
Fett, it sounds like they make whey/creatine shakes available?  How does it work for a Soldier on deployment - he asks for the whey shake at chow time, or has a can of powder in his footlocker, or buys it himself, or ?  I'm curious.

Lonnie of MC's picture

I was an aircraft mechanic from the day that I raised my hand until the day that I loaded up the uHaul and headed back to Oregon. I was in for a total of 9 years, 2 months, and 29 days. I would have stayed in for 20, but after blowing out a knee in a very large way, I was put out to pasture.

Lonnie of MC's picture

... years old, I think that this is what happened to Mike Carp last year. After getting even more ripped in the off season than he had been in 2011 he appeared to be made of glass a bit.


The article mentioning Piazza gaining also talked about the Yankees in 98 having shakes provided by the team.
" The white Styrofoam cups with red straws poking through the lids were lined up on a table in the clubhouse like soldiers awaiting inspection. One afternoon, as his players snatched up all the cups, the most powerful of Yankees sucked on his shake while admonishing a clubhouse attendant. "Next time make sure you have a few more made up," said owner George Steinbrenner, dressed in his own uniform of blue blazer and white turtleneck. "Better to have too much than not enough.""


This takes us back to the header issue on Mays, Aaron, Robinson, Banks, et al. I saw all four of those guys close up as a kid and they reminded me much more of the lumberjacks I saw in the woods when touring with my grandpa (who was a timber co. exec) than of the weightlifter-types you see now. Their muscles were "ropey" rather than bulging. Joe Adcock and Ted Kluzewski, for two, had the bulging muscles, but they didn't run and field like Aaron, Mays, Robinson, or Banks. When I first saw Willie McCovey, he was MUCH bigger than Mays, but still had that stringy look, rather than looking pumped.
While I am convinced that strength-training is needed to be successful in baseball, I wonder if the ropey-muscled build, which results from hard, physical labor from a young age, is disappearing as almost everyone uses weights to work out. Dr. Elliott, in things I have read, seems to say somewhat the same thing - that rotational strength, not just of the trunk, but also in the legs and arms, is important in baseball, and needs new methods to truly develop. I hope Nick Franklin has developed the kind of wrists and shoulders of an Aaron or Banks, rather than trying to be a mini-Adam Dunn. The hard edged, pumped muscles seem to be more prone to tearing as compared to the long, lean muscles that could generate so much wrist torque for Mays, Banks, Aaron, and Robinson.


is actually stronger for its size than bulky short-strand muscle. Long strand is built from endurance training, or lighter weights with more reps. Bruce Lee.
Short strand is built from max weight training. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
That's my understanding anyway.

baseballallday's picture

Keep in mind the kid lost a lot of weight due to a concussion and mono. His interview from the MLB Rookie training indicated that he missed the time because he couldn't pass the tests from '6 months prior' at Spring Training. That would probably be hard for anyone to beat, sick or not. Six months into the season can wear you down.
Personally, I think he's superman because he never really missed a beat.
Now he has 2 rings while playing for the Mariners - one from the rookie ball the same year he was drafted and now the AFL Championship. Wonder if he got a ring winning MVP and also the Rising star game last year?

M's Watcher's picture

Golly, did you notice Val's doll hair look in the Franklin/Zunino video? He should seriously go back and ask for a refund, and then get a referral to Rizzzie's rug doctor, or maybe just Buhner's barber. Ouch.

GLS's picture

Guys that age with athletic genes and naturally high testosterone levels, if you give them the right program and they consume the calories, then yes it can work.
It's a simple program, just follow Rippetoe's Starting Strength. Here's the link:
Basically, you have 2 workouts: workout A and workout B.
Workout A
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
1x5 Deadlift
Workout B
3x5 Squat
3x5 Press
5x3 Power Cleans
You alternate workouts on non-consecutive days and that's pretty much it. That's the original program. If you follow the link above, they've added some other movements as the weeks progress. Plus, a guy with Franklin's genes can probably benefit from a heavier workload. Most normal people are better off limiting the amount of work they do and making sure they eat enough and get sufficient rest. But these natural athletes are freaky in the way their bodies respond.
I wish I knew this when I was 17-22.

Fett42's picture

Either family/friends would send it in care packages from home or Soldiers would be able to buy it if they hopped on the occasional resupply convoys to the larger bases.


Sure, he could be clean. But he could also be dirty. Fact is, we don't hear about 35lb weigh gains in a single baseball offseason. It's really rare. Rare enough to raise suspicions in this day and age. Of course, he could have used HGH all winter and still pass his drug tests in ST...

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