Saturday's televised game between the Phils and Astros showcased a pitcher that is entirely dependent on hitting his spots.
Ryan Franklin should readjust his daily life so that everything he does is slightly to the left or slightly to the right. Anywhere but right down the middle. He should drive with one tire on the median. If he’s a Democrat, his politics should be like Joe Lieberman: slightly right. Or is that slightly center? Nevermind. Bad analogy.
Mechanically sound, and a relatively fast worker, my first impression of Ryan Franklin watching him Saturday is that he’s the kind of pitcher who will constantly make me nervous watching the game. Even in an outing where he pitched 3 2-3 scoreless innings and was hitting his spots, as he did Saturday, you always feel like he’s walking a fine line.
He’s got nothing on his fastball. Nothing. He should only use it to back hitters off the plate. He should never, ever, throw it down the middle.
His two and four-seam fastball reaches the catcher in the high 80s. It has enough action to keep it at the level where hitters will hit it in the air at a higher frequency than most pitchers, not quite the "hover" Ugueth Urbina had, but not ideal for Citizen’s Bank Park. He has no pitches that would induce groundballs. His curve, slider and changeup are rated as average, but will come around more with more time on the hill.
Franklin is getting more work than any pitcher this spring with the exception of Ryan Madson, and for good reason. He needs to be dialed in with his location, or he’ll just take up roster space.