Cubs Pitching Prospect Kohl Franklin Faced Batters Today for the First Time in a Year ... and Touched 99 MPH

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Cubs Pitching Prospect Kohl Franklin Faced Batters Today for the First Time in a Year … and Touched 99 MPH

Chicago Cubs

Because he was not a first or second round draft pick, because he has thrown barely 50 professional innings, and because all of those innings came in 2018-19, Kohl Franklin doesn’t get a lot of prospect hype outside of hipster Cubs fan circles. But if you were following his helium before the 2021 season, and if you’ve heard the reports this offseason, you know there is the potential there for him to be one of the best pitching prospects in the system this year. Maybe even more special than that.

Against that backdrop, Franklin faced batters in live BP today for the first time in a year. As far as moments go in early March, this was about as big as it could get for a prospect. I’m sure Franklin himself just wanted to know it would go all right after missing so much time with an oblique injury.

I would, uh, say it went pretty darn OK:

The best possible (realistic) news today, hands down.

It would seem that Franklin, who has always had a projectable body and improving velocity since high school, really got to work on the velocity over the past two years, despite missing game action. Because holy crap. Touching 99 mph in your first outing facing batters in a year? In the first week of March? I’m sure the adrenaline was pumping and we shouldn’t assume he’s actually going to be able to sit 97 mph deep into starts all year or anything like that. But even if you discount everything, it’s still some really, really impressive velocity, which he was apparently commanding.

It’s just one outing. On the back fields. In batting practice. But for Franklin, this was a huge step. Consider him very much on your radars.


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.