Former Cal Poly Mustang closer Jason Franks was drafted No. 245 overall by the Atlanta Braves in the eighth round of the 2022 MLB Player Draft on Monday, July 18.
The 2022 season was Franks’ best, as he led the team with 11 saves and had 69 strikeouts through 54.0 innings pitched. Franks also earned four wins with his late-game appearances against Fresno State, UNLV, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton, compiling a 3.17 ERA overall.
Following the season, he was named to the All-Big West First Team. Franks and the Mustang pitching staff led the conference in strikeouts and were sixth in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Getting drafted is the next chapter in Franks’ underdog journey. He played his first two years on Cal Poly’s club baseball team, and in 2020 and 2021 combined he only pitched a total of 4 ⅔ innings.
This year, he broke out and was a top closer in the conference and, as a result, was awarded the team’s Jim Newkirk Fireman’s Award.
Franks is almost exclusively a fastball pitcher and retired plenty of batters on strikeouts. One of his statistical best game appearances this season was when he recorded five strikeouts in two innings against UC San Diego, closing the ninth with back-to-back-to-back backward Ks.
Off the field, Franks ends his collegiate career with a civil engineering degree and All-Big West academic honors.
20 total former Cal Poly players have played in the big leagues, and Franks will look to be the next arm to join the ranks with the Braves.