Box Score Recap – 8/23/2014

Maikel Franco hit for the cycle. If you’re expecting a big analysis on that, here it is:


Also worth noting that Franco had two homers on the day, the other was in game one of the double header. He was 6-7 on the day, proving that Syracuse’s manager hates pitch-arounds and intentional walks, I guess.

MAG has worked eight scoreless innings in a row, Jeremy horst struck out six in four innings as the bullpen starter in game 2, and Freddy Galvis wasn’t in the line-up because he was called up to Philly. He’d earned it – he had seven multi-hit games and was OPSing .867 for the month of August. Carlos Alonso hit a grand slam and Jake Fox hit his 21st home run of the season for Reading. Fox was behind the plate for that game.

Brian Pointer went deep (15) and Roman Quinn stole a base (30), while Kevin Walter worked well for the second straight start. Not at all sure what to think of that. Dylan Cozens also went deep for the 15th time this year, while Zach Green was 2-4 with two doubles. Willians Astudillo is hitting .492 for the month with an ISO of .048. Catching will be his salvation. Otherwise, he’s a singles-hitting, never walking first baseman.

Rhys Hoskins was 2-3 with a double and a homer, and David Whitehead took care of business as usual. CLR for him in April, I’d guess. And Lewis Alezones allowed 1R on 2H 0BB and 4K in 6IP in what was his longest outing of the year. The 18-year-old has an 0.87 WHIP and 27K:5BB in 30IP this season. Really impressive. Kind of excited for his prospects going forward.

Here’s the affiliate Scoreboard from MiLB.

8-23-14 boxscores

40 thoughts on “Box Score Recap – 8/23/2014

  1. Quinn is in the top three in SB for the FSL, three off the leader. He’s done so in 33 and 25 fewer games, respectively, than the two ahead of him.

  2. I don’t know what to say about Franco… wait, I’ve got it. His day would be a career for Larry Greene.

    I think Franco is a shoo-in for a call up in September.

  3. IMO Franco has had a good year and I am personally more confident now that he will be an impact player than at this time last year. The key to baseball is adjustments. And he has shown twice in his short career that he has the mental makeup to adjust and be successful. Well done!

    1. I’m cautiously optimistic about Franco. I will say that, lately, hitting prospects throughout baseball (except the Cuban players – really, they are a distinct exception) have had an incredibly tough time adjusting from AAA to the majors. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but it seems to be part of the movement to a truly extreme pitchers era in baseball combined with better advance scouting and superior and advanced positioning of fielders. It seems to me that the guys who are struggling most are those with questionable hit tools without great plate discipline – Domonic Brown, etc. . . .

      This is a long way of saying that, while I hope Franco hits the ground running next year, it wouldn’t surprise me if he has quite a long period of adjustment. Perhaps a full year or more and we will have to be patient because, at times, he will probably look pretty bad at the plate.

      That said, Franco has something very special, aside from his very good hand-eye coordination. The ball absolutely explodes off of Franco’s bat like it does for very few players who are not gigantic slugger types (when he hits it, the ball leaves his bat like it does with Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez or Yasiel Puig – it’s very noticeable). This bat speed makes Franco the type of guy who, if he can learn to handle major league breaking pitches (a HUGE if), can become a true middle of the line up power hitter who can maintain a decent average, although, perhaps not the best OBP. Think Aramis Ramirez – a guy who can hit in the middle of the line-up for a contending team – a 4-6 WAR player in his peak years. Maybe not a franchise player, but a very, very good player.

      1. Some adjust more quickly than others, that is why young players just need to play. I’m in on Franco as well, very young for the league and has shown the ability to adjust to triple a savvy pitchers as well as stuff guys in the eastern league. Have no idea about where he ends up playing but he will hit

      2. Actually, I seem to recall that Domonic Brown was quite good with regard to plate discipline as he came up through the ranks. Just goes to prove your point, though–in the majors, the pitchers quickly figure out what you do at the plate and how to exploit those tendencies. The whole question is how you adjust after that.

        That said: I am really excited about Franco, he couldn’t have picked a better way to wrap up his season, I suspect he will be our starting 3B by June or so next year.

        1. Andrew got to see Franco again last night. The double he hit was so hard the third basemen couldn’t get his glove up in time, I have got to see him on Saturdays on channel 59 on Comcast in Philadelphia. The improvement in his pitch recognitions is unbelievable so much better the last two months. The big difference in brown and Franco is bat speed imo.

          1. That’s exciting to hear. Good to see one of our preseason top 2 prospects has managed to salvage his season!

  4. I think he will definitely get called up and should be inserted into the lineup.

    The only problem is Asche seems to be finding his groove after some injuries and a slow start.

    Both guys deserve to play during September.

    1. I think he’ll definitely be called up, but I doubt he’ll start next season with the team, just because of the arbitration clock issues. The only caveat I could foresee is if they sign him to a long-term deal like the Astros did with George Springer, but the Phillies haven’t done that in the past (in part because they haven’t had a player worthy of it). I think, barring the replacement of Amaro by another GM in the offseason, we should expect the front office to manage Franco’s contract situation by the book, which means bringing him up later if that’s what it takes to avoid Super 2 status.

      1. Finances aside, starting at LHV for Franco in 2015 would further enhance his development and he can avoid the opening-season pressures and the hyped-up media expectations.. .

        1. Very true, a good start at lehigh valley would at least give him some more confidence to start the season. In todays game though all prospects face an enormous amount of pressure. Sooner or later there will be a lot of hype around him. Hopefully he can handle it well and earn his name being in the lineup everyday.

          Side note: If Franco can not make the adjustments at the plate at least he still has value with his defense, which is a lot more than we can say about Dom Brown. His scouting grades are 50 for fielding and 60 arm. There will probably be some ups and downs in his first year or two in the big leagues, but we are talking about a guy who could be an above average regular by the age of 24. That is exactly what this team needs and there could be a lot of Franco jerseys at the bank very soon.

          1. I hate to be a broken record here, and I fully understand everyone’s frustration with Domonic Brown, but I don’t think anybody thought his defense was going to be this kind of an issue. Here’s his prospect page on this very site:


            Scouting grades on his defense were 45/55–so he projected to be a little above average in right field, with a cannon for an arm.

            In other words, Brown projected to be a better fielder in right than Franco projects to be at third. Just keep that in mind when you’re looking at those scouting grades. Nothing is guaranteed. Still, the Brown situation is one of the most perplexing and frustrating ones I’ve ever seen, I’m still not convinced he won’t put it all together and become a star–although I think at this point he probably needs to part ways with the Phillies for the sake of his own mental health.

            1. ‘Brown projected to be a better fielder in right than Franco projects to be at third’….I am not sure how that can be.
              Franco, just this year, was voted the best 3rd Basemen by Intl League coaches , and he has been applauded in previous years for his defensive strengths, especially his glove work and arm. His range was called into question due to his foot speed, which I disagree with since third base is a lot about quickness and first step reaction.
              I am not sure that Brown had anything but a cannon arm in RF.
              Wasn’t there reports that Brown’s route-running were suspect in the minors.

            2. As I have said before I watch Franco play on tv almost every Saturday. I Don’t get the fielding questions, he fields third really well, and has a great arm, even though he throws kind of side arm.

            3. I think there is very little chance Brown is back. He is painful to watch and there is no excuse for his inability to track a fly ball. Don’t expect much back but I am over him.

            4. Romus, I said that Brown projected to be better defensively when he was in the minors because the scouting projecting on his defense was 55 while (at least according to the previous comment I was responding to) Franco’s is 50. As recently as last year we were all speculating that his lack of speed/mobility might force a switch for 1B before he could play in the majors. It’s great to see that he appears to have turned that perception around, the vote by the managers is an indication of that. At the same time, even the best reports on his defense find flaws. My only point is that, as the case of Brown shows, such flaws can become severely magnified (or even get worse) in the glare of the major league spotlight.

  5. The key for next year is finding a spot for Franco with the Phillies. If they sign the Cuban OF you have Tomas/Revere/Byrd/Brown/Ruf in the outfield.

    Howard is entrenched at first base.

    Asche could be moved from third but he has had a good season fielding and moving him to the outfield does not solve the logjam that I mentioned above.

    It is probably better that he starts next season at AAA until the Super 2 status passes.

    1. Is that a bad problem? Asche would be a good bench bat along with Ruf. Who says those guys have to start?

      1. On a team that’s all about development at this point, it’s not a great thing to have one of your only young players stuck on the bench. The best way for Asche to improve is to play every day.

      2. Asche deserves to start somewhere on the club. You don’t give up on him that quickly.

        Suppose Franco struggles to open the year, will you quit on him that fast?

        There is a roster construction problem that needs to be addressed.

          1. He is a rookie. People expect too much from prospects and are willing to toss them out if they do not perform at a high level immediately.

            People need to be patient. Catch22 made a great post about the jump from AAA to the major leagues.

            Guys like Singleton have struggled but that does not mean they will not adjust. It takes time and people need to understand that.

            What happens if Franco struggles next year? Are we quitting on him in August?

            If you want development you have to be patient. You have to take a long-term view with regard to a player just coming up and expect him to struggle as he adapts to facing top tier talent everyday.

            Ematthews9 made a great post about expecting some struggles initially from Franco.

            If you want development you need patience. Guys will make mistakes as they move up but how they adapt to higher competition and learn from their mistakes says a lot about their ability to succeed at every level.

        1. I’d like for them to see if they could turn Asche into a Ben Zobrist or Mark DeRosa-type player, someone who can play some third and some left and maybe second base in a pinch. See if they can get him 130-140 starts a season at various positions. He was terrible at 2B when he was at Williamsport, but maybe he could learn it well enough to play adequate defense in place of Utley occasionally.

          Of course, all that is easier said than done, it seems like it’s very rare to find a major league player who is able to play that role akin to an NBA 6th man. But it seems Asche is a gamer, so maybe he might be able to pull it off.

          1. On the subject of getting guys starts at various positions and some versatility, I like to think that Freddy Galvis should, with some instructions, give it a go from behind the plate.He seems to be a natural at any position they put him.
            And having a third guy behind Chooch and whoever is there next year, who can also switch-hit would be a very nice piece for Sandberg to manage.

          2. I think that’s the correct way to go with Asche. If Franco is ready to come up, then I would send Asche down to AAA to try 2B again.

            Maybe Asche would do better with a little more time to react to the ball than he had at 3B. I know it’s probably not ideal, but if Franco is ready than he is odd man out, and his bat won’t play in the OF.

      3. If the team is to get younger, these guys need to start. How quickly we forget what a great year Asche had in the upper minors last season. Everyone says he’s a very hard worker. He’s in his initial MLB adjustment season. Odds are he improves with time. We really don’t need to put Asche on the jerk-around express that Brown got to ride so much — likely one of the reasons Brown isn’t the Brown we expected. Yes, his defensive ratings were better in the minors. That was also when he was playing his more natural RF. He also stunk in LF in AAA, when the Phillies made the switch. What are you going to do when Franco fails to start gangbusters in MLB? Make him a multi-position bench guy as well? Just as there was zilch excuse to play Delmon Young in RF over Brown, there is zilch excuse for Howard to block Franco at 1B and thereby bench Asche. Asche has a .679 OPS in Philly, while Franco has .712 OPS in Allentown. If they both play in Philly next season, I’m betting on Asche to have the higher 2015 OPS.

    2. The Phillies need to un-entrench Howard at 1B. That is a key going forward. Franco can well start the season at AAA, with hopefully Ruf, but likely Howard starting the season there. Then Franco comes up to play 1B in Philly some time in June. Despite the ‘but just look at all those RBIs’ crowd, Howard’s tenure in Philly needs to come to an end. If he has any future, it is as a DH or PH and it isn’t in Philly.

      1. Can you think of another team that would be in need of Howard?
        Before this season, I thought the Rangers would be a player who could use a [player like Howard, since Moreland might not be their answer….but they folded this year and look like the Phillies.
        Maybe the Mariners next season. Maybe even the O’s could use him, especially if Machado needs more time to heal.

        1. I’ve always been highly dubious that Howard is tradable with the Phillies eating less than 90% of his remaining salary. I’d still do that deal. If that’s not doable, I’d make him our current Matt Stairs off the bench. The future of the Phillies simply doesn’t lie in starting Howard at 1B. I’m sure if he can’t be traded over the winter that RAJ/Monty will insist on him starting the season as our starting 1B. Why that is such a mistake should be fully obvious by the time Franco is ready to come to Philly. I would not platoon Franco with Howard. I’d give him the job outright, not being surprised if he starts slowly. 2015 will be an excellent year for Franco to ease into the NL.

          1. If Franco appears to be a better offensive and defensive player than Asche, why move him off 3b and lessen his value? I don’t think Asche has shown he is anymore than a fringe major leaguer. He has little power and seems to be average defensively, if the Phillies could trade Asche to open up a spot for Franco it is certainly something I would explore.

            1. If you think he’s so bad, why do you assume we could trade him for something significant? Asche put up better numbers in AAA than Franco did. A LOT better. I think Asche can be more than a fringe major leaguer. No guarantee that he can be, but I think it is very possible. Lessening Franco’s value only becomes an issue if you are trying to trade him. He won’t forget his 3B skills. You talk about Franco as if he is already an established plus MLB 3B. He isn’t and he might never be. He is a very good prospect, but not as good a prospect as Domonic Brown was. Based upon what they did in the minors, I’d say he’s a better prospect than Asche was, but not a lot better (I ranked Franco’s prospect status higher, prior to the start of this season, than I do today, after his very big hiccup for over half of this season at AAA)..

    1. Well pardon me…his ISO is .048 this month. That’s like Ben Revere/Juan Pierre level. His .104 on the season is about what you would expect from a light-hitting middle infielder. A current big leaguer with a .104 ISO is Jose Altuve. So let me change “singles hitting” to “light-hitting”. How’s that work for ya?

      1. It is a distinction worth making, however, since he has yet to play in HR-friendly parks/leagues. I’d like to see what he can do at Reading (not next year, obviously, t least not before July). It’s wrong to tag a guy with ‘doubles-only’ power, based upon results at Lakewood. He does have 4HR on the year.

        1. Sure, and he’s just a year off an injury at this point, so I’m willing to give him more time, but the reports we’ve seen don’t peg him as being in line to offer a lot of power, again going to my thought that he had better be able to catch or he’s going to have trouble. If he can catch, I’m all in. Low-power catchers aren’t the worst thing in the world, especially if they make up for it with a ton of solid contact.

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