Lakewood 3B Maikel Franco. (Photo by Dave Schofield, Lakewood BlueClaws)
Position: Third base
Prospect Level: Mid-level prospect (10th according to BaseballAmerica.com)
Team: Lakewood (Single-A).
2012 Minor League Stats:
Season in Review: Maikel Franco wasn’t on a lot of people’s radars this year despite being ranked in the Phillies top 10 prospects list. But the Dominican Republican native made a name for himself in Lakewood and could find himself headed to Clearwater and soon Reading in 2013.
The 20-year-old undrafted free agent of 2010 was twice featured in TTB’s own Chris Bengel’s “Down on the Farm” segment this season, once in April and again in July, for good play. The interesting thing about both those posts was that Franco was batting in the low .200′s.
By July 9, Franco was at a .237, but began a hot tear that continued for the rest of the season. His average shot all the way up to .280 at season’s end, hitting a team-hight 14 home runs and driving in a team high 84 runs through 132 games.\
Franco’s offensive numbers came into their own late in 2012, giving the Phillies something to work on as he begins to ascend the ranks in the farm system. But what they have already been impressed with is the stellar defense that Franco plays, setting him apart from other infield prospects currently in the system.
Franco’s reflexes are considered top notch, and he has a strong arm from the hot corner, making him a possible Major League candidate just on his fielding ability alone.
But despite being an ace in the field, Franco had a bit of a set back fielding wise. After managing to not make a single error in 37 chances in 2011, Franco made 16 errors in 286 chances at third base, still a respectable number for a 20-year-old getting used to Single-A ball.
Franco is turning out to be the best Phillies third base prospect since a certain Scott Rolen came up through the system. Ironically enough, that position has been cursed for the Phillies since Rolen’s departure in 2002.
Franco will continue to climb the ranks. And with patience and the proper development he could very well be on the Phillies by 2014-15.