Christian Franklin has signed with the Chicago Cubs, officially ending his college career.
The former Arkansas standout and fourth-round pick received a signing bonus of $425,000, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis. That is slightly under the $464,500 slot value for the 123rd overall selection.
He is the first of the Razorbacks’ nine draft picks known to have signed a professional contract. Only UCLA (10) had more players selected in the 2021 MLB Draft.
During his career in Fayetteville, Franklin was a three-year starter in the outfield and slashed .288/.402/.499 with 22 home runs and 99 RBIs in 141 career games.
Coming out of Rockhurst High in the Kansas City area, Franklin was ranked the No. 153 overall recruit in the Class of 2018 and immediately worked his way into the Razorbacks’ starting lineup as a left fielder. He hit .274 with six home runs, 34 RBIs and 12 stolen bases on a team that reached the College World Series.
With Dominic Fletcher gone to the professional ranks, he shifted over to center field in 2020 and got off to a scoring hot start. Before the season was cut short by the pandemic, he was hitting .381 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in just 16 games.
Franklin came into the 2021 season with high expectations, landing on numerous preseason All-America teams and being considered a potential first-round pick.
Although he was tremendous defensively, making several highlight-reel catches, Franklin had an up-and-down year at the plate. Although he hit 13 home runs and had 54 RBIs, his batting average dipped too .274 and he struggled with strikeouts. In fact, his 78 strikeouts rank second on the UA single-season list.
That likely led to him slipping to the fourth round, where the Cubs scooped him up at No. 123 overall.