SF Giants top prospects: No. 25 — OF Franklin Labour
Highest Level: Class-A (Augusta)
Acquired: IFA (2015)
Future-Value Grade: 35+
The Giants signed Franklin Labour for just a $70,000 signing bonus in 2015. He’s proved to be an incredible find by the organization’s international scouts.
Labour held his own from 2016-17 in the Dominican Summer League and earned his way to the domestic pipeline. He held his own in his stateside debut at the Arizona League with a solid .269/.379/.431 line. Still, he’d yet to put together an exceptional performance.
His breakout came last year. Labour exploded out of the gate at the short-season Northwest League. He led the league with 14 home runs while playing in just 41 of Low-A Salem-Keizer’s 76 games. No one else reached double-digits.
The Giants promoted Labour to the Single-A Augusta Greenjackets where for the first time since coming stateside, Labour looked overmatched. He failed to make consistent contact or drive the ball when he did.
There’s reason for concern given his struggles in his first full-season experience. It shouldn’t be considered too much of a red flag yet. He’s six months younger than Logan Wyatt (the Giants second-round pick in the 2019 draft) and wasn’t behind schedule at the time.
This is going to sound repetitive, but every prospect is impacted by the canceled minor league season and those with shorter track-records are especially variable. Labour wouldn’t be on this list with a mediocre performance at Augusta. However, he’d have jumped to a 40-grade prospect with a strong showing.
Power remains Labour’s calling card. He is built like a Group of Five conferences middle linebacker. With the exception of his stint in Augusta, he’s shown the above-average approach and consistent bat-to-ball skills necessary to maximize it. His profile comes with some limitations.
Unsurprisingly he isn’t fast on the bases and doesn’t have great range in the outfield. He has a good enough arm and has flashed the instincts to be passable in right (although probably not at Oracle Park) and should definitely be competent in left.
The organization was clearly confident enough in Labour to promote him to Augusta. If he finds a way to adjust to full-season caliber pitching during 2020, he’d be on track to begin 2021 at San Jose. His track record suggests he’ll find a way to make enough contact to at least be a corner bench bat and has enough potential to be an everyday corner outfielder.