Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly is reporting that Franco told him that the Phillies plan to have him primarily play first base in 2014. He will still get work at third base as well.
There has been a lot written and said about Maikel Franco‘s swing over the course of the season. There have been talks about the shape and length as well as how much power it is going to generate. Overall scouts have questioned how the swing as a whole will translate to the next level. Franco has big time raw power and he has elite bat speed and hand eye coordination. He has demonstrated the ability to make contact, but the quality of that contact has begun to come into question lately. The goal is to explore if that is true and what that deterioration in contact might look like.
So the first question is what kind of contact is Franco making. Here is a break down of his percentages across each level Franco played at this year (sample size of 228, 249, and 88 balls in play respectively).
The first thing that jumps out is the spike in ground balls in AA that coincided with a drop in fly balls. The next thing is that outside of a spike in winter ball, his line drive rate is very low (for example the lowest LD% among qualified 3B in 2013 was Todd Frazier at 18.1%), given that line drives have the highest probability of being hits, that is troubling. The decline in flyball rate is troubling as well because that is where the HR power is coming from. Overall it is an indication that Franco is not making the best contact possible, but given that minor league ball in play classifications can be off lets look at some spray charts. Continue reading
Before anyone grabs their pitchfork, here are the top 13 prospects in the league in order, all of which are no doubt Top 100 prospects: Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Javier Baez, Gregory Polanco, Maikel Franco, Noah Syndergaard, Gary Sanchez, Jorge Soler, Andrew Heaney, Aaron Sanchez, Nick Kingham, Eddie Rosario, and Alen Hanson. That is a stacked list of names, and has pure prospects I would take Noah Syndergaard over Franco, because I think he is monster pitcher who was limited by only getting 12 games in the FSL. That being said it is a great placement for Franco.
I am not going to dive into the Franco report too much as he appears on the Eastern League list as well among many of the same names. Just know that scouts really like him and while their are weaknesses and nits to pick, he is still a very good prospect. Continue reading
I am not a scout nor do I pretend to be. I have not seen Franco in person this year because I live in Wisconsin which is a long distance from Clearwater and Reading. These opinions are formed on video (game feeds and scouting video), reports, and people I have talked.
Since his breakout I have been wanting to discuss Franco, but I wanted to have fully formed opinions before I threw water on some people’s fires. I don’t think I disagree with Franco’s ceiling so much as I think the polish is not where you want it yet. Additionally I think we often ignore faults in players in an effort to recognize their gifts, it is a defense mechanism to avoid thinking about the amount of failure along the journey to the majors. All that being said Maikel Franco is my #2 prospect in the Phillies system and a great prospect and scouting story. Continue reading
Both very deserving and probably the best pair of representatives since Dom Brown went on his own.
More to come later.
News just breaking that the Phillies are moving Franco up to AA. It has been a real breakout year for Franco with him showing more opposite field approach without sacrificing any of his game. His strikeout rate has dropped and there have been more positive opinions on his defense. There wasn’t a 3B to block him in AA so it is an easy decision.
This may be the first of many promotions or a single promotion, we will see over the coming days.
I have to run to work so I will fill in some details later, but BP released their Phillies Top 10 today, you can read it here, http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19360#131023. For now I will leave the names and projection (OFP and what it means) and tools (if there is a * it is a potential not an actualized tool)
1. Jesse Biddle (6, #3 starter, moderate risk)
Tools: 5+ FB, 6* CB, 5+ CH
2. Maikel Franco (6, first division player, high risk)
Tools: 5+* hit, 6 raw power, 6+ arm
3. Adam Morgan (6, #3 starter, moderate risk)
Tools: 5+ FB, 6 SL, 5+* CH, 5* CB
4. Roman Quinn (6, first division player, high risk)
Tools: 8 speed, 5+* hit, 5+ arm
5. Tommy Joseph (hi 5, solid-average regular, moderate risk)
Tools: 6 power, 6+ arm Continue reading
Today Baseball America released their Top 10 prospects in the Phillies System. Since the scouting reports are behind the pay wall I will keep the scouting reports to quick paraphrases of Baseball America’s reports.
If you have further questions and are a BA subscriber please go to the chat later today or submit your questions now.
1. Jesse Biddle – LHP – Age 21 -Biddle has drawn comparisons to Andy Pettitte for his strong left handed frame. Biddle’s fastball sits 88-93, he follows it up with a curveball which profiles as plus, an average change up, and a added a two-seamer and slider in 2012. Biddle has a great work ethic and he physically profiles as a workhorse with a clean smooth delivery. Biddle has a very good chance to be a #3 starter but there is a chance that he could profile better if one of his pitches takes a step forward. Continue reading
The next installment in the off season look at prospects are corner infielders. Traditionally the corner positions are where teams stick pure hitters and is generally the source of power in a line up. Overall offense has been down across the league, and it has become more important that a player has to be a capable defender as well as have a bat that profiles for the position, especially at third base.
Before jumping into the discussion of how these prospects line up next to one another I encourage everyone to read gregg’s end of season wrap up on the corner infield position.
To be a first base prospect you have to rake at every level along the way, all the way up to the majors. True first base prospects are rare and their bats are special, many impact first baseman are playing the outfield or third base in the minor leagues and will be forced to first when their defense does not cut it for their current position. Many college first baseman drafted will sit in the middle of A-ball lineups for years and provide stability and coaching to prospects, while never getting their own chance in AA. In the Phillies system there are possibly 3 actual first base prospects and one of them (Darin Ruf) is currently playing the outfield and will be addressed when that position comes up for discussion, otherwise the real hopes for a slugging first baseman for the Philles are playing corner outfield spots in the low minors. Continue reading