Phillies top power hitter Maikel Franco needs a break
Six years ago the Phillies touted their top prospect Maikel Franco as the power hitting third baseman of the future. Replacing the likes of Cody Asche, Placido Polanco, and Michael Young Franco was the next cornerstone of a crumbling franchise looking for a face.
Fast forward and Franco is a career .255 hitter who can’t hit a breaking ball and fails to make even the most routine plays at third base.
For those reasons and more, it’s time for the Phillies to give the 24-year-old some time away from the big club.
In no way is this a permanent move back to Lehigh Valley for Franco, who can salvage his place in Phillies history and avoid becoming the next Asche or Domonic Brown. A month with the IronPigs allows Franco to take his focus off winning and being the star and refine his eyes and fundamentals.
Matt Stairs preached patience as the Phillies hitting coach this offseason, and believed Franco was buying into the new approach. Thus far the third baseman has hit .224 with four home runs and 21 RBIs.
Historically Franco has never been a consistent hitter and the ability to control the ball with his bat has been nonexistent.
Through 349 major league at-bats Franco has fallen behind in the count to a pitcher, where he hits .186 with 111 strikeouts and no walks.
He’s a career .151 hitter against lefties, and unless someone wakes him up nothing is going to change him.
No prospect currently mans the hot corner in Lehigh Valley, meaning isn’t stealing valuable at-bats from someone with potential. Taylor Featherston is not a priority for the Phillies.
Let Franco clear a spot on the 25-man roster for Roman Quinn or Pat Venditte, both of whom deserve a shot with the Phillies as of right now. Andres Blanco, hitting .300 in nine games this year, can handle the position until Franco learns how to work a pitcher, hit a curveball the opposite way, or pull a fastball through the shift.
It’s the best move for both Maikel Franco and the Phillies for both today and tomorrow.