Since the acquisition of Robinson Cano via free agency, Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has stated that Nick Franklin, the club’s second baseman for most of the final three-plus months of 2013, will battle with Brad Miller for the starting shortstop job this spring.

Franklin, a 2009 first-round draft pick, is a natural shortstop, having played about 60 percent of his games there throughout his minor league career, so the competition truly is two shortstops going toe-to-toe.

Neither Franklin nor Miller are finished products, and neither are established big leaguers. There are some similarities and as many differences between the two players’ strengths and weaknesses.

Scouts use a 20-80 scale to grade tools. Here’s what those grades mean:

Scouting Tools Primer
Grade Description
20 Poor, not in line with big-league talents
30 Well below average
40 Below average
50 Major league average
60 Above average to plus
70 Well above average, plus
80 Outstanding, among the best in baseball
Tale of the Tape
Tool Miller Franklin
HITTING: Present 45+
Future 55
POWER: Present 45+ 50
Future 50
RANGE: Present 45
Future 50
ARM: Present 50
Future 50+
RUN: Present 55+
Future 55+
Overall Future Potential 55.3

As you can see, Miller has a slight edge over Franklin overall, largely based on his slight but clear edge in hitting and defensive range. In terms of tools and present physical skills, Miller projects to be better defensively at shortstop and offers a higher probability at the plate. Franklin, thanks to his ability to switch hit and hit for above-average power, actually possesses more upside at the plate, but he’s also a bigger risk offensively right now.

Both players project to be average to above average overall. In terms of time frames, Miller is more ready to provide such value in 2014.

– Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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