Dave Van Horn knew he could count on First-Year Razorback Christian Franklin as a defender in 2019, but offense was the question.
One of the major positives from the College World Series, despite Arkansas’ early exit, Franklin was the only Razorback with multi-hit performances
in the two games in Omaha. Franklin went 2 for 3 against Florida State Saturday finishing with a single and double breaking out of a funk (the freshman was 0 for 8 in super regionals
against Ole Miss). He had the leadoff double in the 8th against the Seminoles only to be left stranded at third. Then against Texas Tech Monday, Franklin had two singles. The speedster scored on
Casey Martin’s RBI Triple in the 3rd to make it 2-0 Arkansas, and in the 8th, his single put runners at first and second nobody out.
Point is, Franklin could’ve folded after struggling in super regionals when so many other Razorbacks produced (Hogs had 35 hits in three games combined against the Rebels), but he didn’t.
Instead, the Razorback rookie had four of the Hogs 13 hits overall in the CWS. He finished the year batting .274 with six home runs and 34 RBIs showing a particular knack for spraying the ball the other way. Not bad for a guy in the lineup from day one. Franklin
appeared in 64 games starting 58 and provided some electrifying plays in left field. Arkansas lost a standout right fielder Eric Cole after the 2018 season when he signed with the Royals
as a 4th round pick, so Arkansas had to make a move shifting Heston Kjerstad from left to right field setting Franklin up for the job in left. The top player in Missouri out of high school ranked by Perfect Game
was honored as an All-SEC Freshman. One thing he’ll work to reduce in the offseason? The fact he struck out 66 times, second-most on the team. However,
Franklin gave Arkansas good pop in the nine spot in the batting order. He will have major shoes to fill as Dominic Fletcher gets set to sign with the Diamondbacks, but Franklin is in line
to move to center field and should be one of the more dynamic Diamond Hogs in 2020.