A lot has been made about the defense, or lack thereof, of Franco. It is something that is commonly mentioned when you read about the Phillies, and Philly.com reported that it looked as if he was the odd man out when Scott Kingery shifted to shortstop and JP Crawford to third.
Since Crawford went on the DL with a broken hand, Franco has looked pretty good at the hot corner. He has made a couple nice plays, this one landing him at number two in MLB’s Top Ten Plays of the Week.
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Mike Moustakas is really not much of a defensive upgrade. His fielding percentage is .963 over the past two seasons, compared to Maikel Franco’s .958. In that same span, Moustakas has been charged with 19 errors; Franco, 21. Neither player has ever won a Gold Glove.
If you look a little deeper, Moustakas is better in the Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Average, or Rtot, which is the number of runs above or below average the player is worth based on the number of plays made (via Baseball Reference). This season, Moustakas’ Rtot is +3, compared to -5 for Maikel. Moustakas also measures better in defensive runs saved with three compared to Franco’s -9 this year.
Slight edge: Moustakas.