As the Philadelphia Phillies are slumping this season, one thing that has not been slumping is their farm system. The Phillies farm system has been making some noise this season from Jesse Biddle in Reading to Andrew Knapp in Williamsport. But one player who has been getting a lot of attention lately is third baseman Maikel Franco, who is now playing for the Phillies Double-A affiliate, the Reading Fightin Phils.
Franco has stepped onto the scene slowly as many Phillies fans were wondering when Cody Asche will join the big league club. Franco has seen his numbers go up tremendously since signing with the Phillies back on January 13, 2010. Now you might be asking yourself, why should we care about Franco since he is only in Reading? That’s a good question: as I said, his numbers have gotten tremendously better and he finally took off in 2012 with the Lakewood Blue Claws of the South Atlantic League. That season in Lakewood, Franco hit 14 homers, drove in 84 runs, all while batting .280 in 132 games. He also had a .336 on base percentage and .439 slugging percentage.
This season, those numbers would go up again. Franco would begin the season in Clearwater with the Threshers and there he finally started to make a name for himself. From that point on Phillies fans would start to take notice of the 21-year-old’s power and overall skills.
In 65 games with Clearwater, Franco had hit 16 home runs, amassed 52 RBI and batted .299. Also, his on base percentage and slugging percentage would increase to .349 and .576. With those kind of numbers, he deserved a call up to Reading and that’s what happened. Right now, Franco is batting .418 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 13 games so far with the Fightin Phils.
With that being said, I will not say that Maikel Franco is going to be the next Ryan Howard because let’s face it; not many of those players come around. I see Franco having a Domonic Brown type of power that consistently produces 20-25 home runs. But that’s just me going off of Domonic Brown’s season so far. You have to see how Brown plays in the future and beyond.
It is great to see a young power hitter at the hot corner for the Phillies because they definitely need one and Franco solves their problem. Michael Young is currently playing third for the big league club but if the Phillies fall out of contention, Ruben Amaro Jr. might end up trading him, which opens up the possibility of Freddy Galvis, Cody Asche, or Maikel Franco getting playing time.
Out of those three players, Franco is a long shot to be with the big league as he is very young but has pop in his bat. It will be interesting to see how the career of Franco turns out as he has a lot of potential to be a star in the majors. He has already started that journey to stardom as him and his teammate Jesse Biddle have been selected to play in the Futures Game at Citi Field in New York City.
If you don’t know, the Futures Game is where the best players across the minor leagues come together and play in an All-Star game. Hopefully, Franco plays well enough and could open up eyes in the Phillies organization to push them to maybe promote him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. But if that does not work, Franco could definitely be a September call-up once rosters expand so he can get a taste of being a major league player.
Until then, the 21-year-old third base prospect is slowly developing into one of the next great power hitters to come up in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.