While 24-year Andy Marte has garnered quite a bit of attention from both management and the fans, another youngster is quietly preparing for his first full season in the majors:
He has never had this kind of chance before. Trot Nixon is gone and the Indians didn't bring in another veteran outfielder to cloud the picture. Right field is waiting for him.
At this time last year, we were saying many of the same things last year about Gutierrez that we are about Marte this spring. Gutierrez was once a highly-rated prospect dealt to the Indians. He initially struggled to make the transition from the high minors to the majors. Well, his defense was never an issue, but you can see the parallels.
That doesn't mean that Franklin is a finished product, though. He hit just .232/.292/.429 against right-handed pitching last season, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio (77 to 21) is too high for my tastes. But even with those drawbacks, his defensive ability makes him already a decent right fielder.
If you're an Indians' beat writer looking for a story, just walk on over to Travis Hafner, or in this case, his wife Amy:
"I don't own a calculator, because I just ask Travis to do it for me."
It gets better.
"Honest to God, he almost fainted. He got out of the chair and ... you know how they put paper on the chair? The paper was like wet toilet paper."