Third base is a particularly top-heavy position in 2015, but Maikel Franco is an attractive fallback option in the middle rounds. He actually averaged more Head-to-Head points per game than one of those top guys, Kris Bryant, in a rookie season where he surprised but also didn't do anything entirely out of character, judging by his minor-league track record. He has always made contact at an exceptionally high rate for a power hitter, but he struggled with consistency, approach and mechanics, getting caught over-swinging at times -- you know, the typical hurdles for a developing minor-leaguer. He seemed to put those concerns to rest in his 304 at-bats last year, delivering what would have been the 22nd-highest ISO for a full-timer but with the 42nd-lowest strikeout rate. He may still be in for some growing pains at age 23, but he shouldn't disappoint as your starter.
Franco has filed an official grievance alleging the Phillies kept him in the minors at the start of last season to limit his service time and delay his future free agency, CSN Philadelphia reports. Franco began last season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and was promoted to the majors on May 15. He finished the season with 170 days of service time, two short of a full season. He will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season because he did not accrue a full year of service in 2015. The two sides will likely try to settle this matter out of court. If they cannot, it will proceed to an arbitration panel at a later date.
Franco is scheduled to begin playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic later this week, MLB.com reports. The stint in winter ball will allow Franco to make up for at-bats lost during his seven-week absence at the end of the 2015 season due to a fractured left wrist. Franco, 23, did make it back for the Phillies' final three games, going 3-for-8 with a homer, bringing his total to 14 home runs in 80 games for the season. Only Ryan Howard had more home runs on the team (23).
Phillies promising third baseman Maikel Franco said he plans to play about a month of winter ball in the Dominican Republic, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. Franco will likely join Gigantes del Cibao in early November and then finish up sometime in December. He slashed .280/.343/.497 with 14 home runs and a stolen base in 304 at-bats for the Phillies in a 2015 season plagued by injuries.
Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco went 2 for 4 with a solo homer and RBI single in Saturday's Game 2 loss to the Marlins. Franco promptly returned to his hitting ways after returning from the disabled list, belting his first home run since Aug. 10. The 23-year-old has exceeded expectations in his rookie season, posting a .359 wOBA and .219 ISO. With impressive numbers in 300 at-bats, Franco will be an intriguing player to follow next year.
Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco is in the lineup Friday, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. Franco hasn't been seen in the starting lineup since Aug. 11 as he's been dealing with a wrist injury, so Friday's entry into the lineup is a welcome sign for Phillies' fans and dynasty owners alike. He could be a terrific under-the-radar target heading into fantasy drafts next year due to the amount of time missed from injury.