The Philadelphia Phillies offense has been fuled during their recent winning stretch by the return of their 3rd baseman’s power stroke.
Since June 27th, the Phillies offense has come alive, hitting 19 home runs with a collective .308 batting average.
The offensive surge has helped lead the Phillies to a 10-3 record in that span, including a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and a series win over the reigning World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
A big factor has been 3rd baseman Maikel Franco, who has broken out of his early season slump and has become a major cog in the Phillies’ offense once again.
In the last two weeks before the All-Star Break, Franco mashed six home runs – four of which came in consecutive games – while carrying a .407/.429/.796 hitting split.
It should be noted that Franco’s aggressiveness has cost him in the past. Schwedelson noted how Franco struggled early this year because his head wouldn’t stay level through his swing. Thankfully, Franco has improved his balance, resulting in major improvements to that swing.
Franco’s strikeout percentage prior to the Diamondbacks series was 18.6%, higher than his successful rookie campaign last year.
However, Franco has been even more aggressive in this hot streak, walking at an alarmingly low 3.6% rate.
According to Brooks Baseball, Franco has swung much more against breaking and off speed pitches, swinging at 62% of breaking pitches and nearly 65% of off speed pitches in the month of July.
While Franco has swung at more pitches, he has been making contact with those pitches much more frequently as well. He has made contact on 75% of pitches outside of the zone and 90% of pitches inside the zone since June 27th alone. Impressively, Franco has whiffed on only 2.33% of hard pitches in the month of June.
Not only has Franco been making more contact, he’s been making better contact. Before June 27th, Franco had made hard contact on only 28.8% of his batted balls, but he raised that number to 37.8% since that point.
With more and better contact, Franco has been a key force in the Phillies’ success in the last two weeks before the All-Star Break. As the Phillies head into their series with the Mets, Franco and the rest of the team should look to take advantage of the division rivals’ crippled pitching unit and continue their power surge.