Minor League Notes, Maikel Franco Klonopin

Howdy, readers. I’m insanely busy planning the wedding and the move and doing draft prep but I’m still getting to 4 or 5 games per week because I need to make sure I maintain my brand which justifies my existence. I’ve seen Severino Gonzalez twice so far this year but I’m waiting to write him up because I’m kicking the tires on something bigger than a simple scouting report there. For now, here’s some random thoughts on the guys I’ve had a couple looks at now that we’re two and a half weeks into the season. Maikel Franco- Everyone relax. The numbers are bad but this is the exact same Maikel Franco we saw last year and the Maikel Franco I wrote about after he came up and I got eyes on him. Don’t believe me? Here’s a direct quote from my first piece on Franco from last year: What I think this (Franco’s free swinging) might lead to is a little rough patch at Triple-A where pitchers can exploit the poor approach/secondary struggle combination. I think it’d be good for Franco, personally, to be forced to make those adjustments. Despite the early numbers (to which everyone seems to be overreacting) I still see in Franco what I’ve seen from the beginning, an average or slightly above everyday third baseman who has a shot to make some All Star teams. This is a 21-year old kid. If he has to repeat Triple-A next year, he’s still on a pretty swift developmental path. He’s playing baseball against some guys who have been playing professional ball for longer than he’s been alive. When you have issues hitting crafty junk, you’re going to struggle when you see almost nothing except leather-faced veterans who throw a ton of junk. Bumps in the road like the one Franco is experiencing right now are common. The Buster Poseys and Mike Trouts of the world who dominate the minors without issue are the freaks, the exceptions. People seem to be forgetting that, both in the fan base and in the media. Chill the fuck out. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBzGeazDwxg Kenny Giles -Giles always seems to end up throwing on nights when I’m not in Reading but I need to address the groundswell of support for his promotion, and I’ll do so with this: “X”  throws baseballs hard and has a decent slider but struggles to command them both at times. X = Jeremy Jeffress The Phillies don’t have a lot of power arms in the system, so when one pops up it’s worth noting. But keep in mind that the Blue Jays just cut a guy like that. They’re relatively common on the whole. Phillipe Aumont- Aumont’s velocity is down (90-92 when I saw him) a bit and the curveball doesn’t look like that plus-plus hammer of god that we saw in 2012. If some of that raw goodness doesn’t come back, he’s not a big leaguer.

Brody Colvin- He’s pitching with an average fastball and an average curveball now but still isn’t repeating and throwing consistent strikes. I’m pretty much done here.

Austin Wright- The move to the bullpen has Wright maxing out and throwing 91-93, harder than he was as a starter last year. The curveball is about average, with good depth, at 78-81mph. He’s still struggling to control things but when he misses now, it’s down. There’s an outside shot he makes it as a middle relief option.

Tommy Joseph- Tommy looks alright. He’s tracked the bell well the last few times I’ve seen him and that power is still in there. The issues with blocking balls in the dirt still exists and I popped him at 2.12 this week, well below average, though it looked like he just mis-released the baseball. I once pegged him as a potential average everyday player and I still think that’s the peak, but it’s more of a backup profile overall.

Cesar Hernandez- He’s raking but I can’t see it working at SS. Both of the opportunities he saw last night ended with throws to first in the dirt. The arm strength just isn’t there. He’s also struggled to get a feel for third base. He is still, for me, a below average everyday second baseman. Backups at the keystone don’t exist in today’s world of 12 man pitching staffs.

Zach Collier- Can still fly, play a viable CF and the swing (especially his footwork) looks much quieter this year than it did last. But he’s still late on good velo. He’s worth monitoring for sure, but I don’t see an everyday player. Fifth OF profile for me.

Kelly Dugan- Looked fine pre-injury. Was taking better at-bats than he did in Double-A last year.

Cameron Perkins- The early numbers are gaudy but the swing is long and I don’t see the bat speed to make up for it. His hand-eye is better than advertised, as is the defense in the outfield. He plays his ass off and is fun to watch but I still don’t think he’s going to hit enough to profile in a corner.

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12 comments

  1. nik

    April 22, 2014 11:32 AM

    Let us know what you think of Altherr when you catch him – I still think he has the highest upside in that crowded Reading outfield.

  2. Mark66

    April 23, 2014 11:39 AM

    Last nite the Phils were lucky to win given they did not play smart baseball. 3 times the pitcher gets on along with the leadoff man and they don’t move the runners over, swinging away. JR failed. Later in the game Ruiz triples and again no runs. Also I still don’t see or understand why they got rid of Frandsen and then went out and got Nix. They are both the same age. Nix can’t hit. Frandsen was a clutch hitter for us plus he could play more positions than Nix. Bad release and pick up. It appears that the 3B position is becoming our weak link. I would take Frandsen in a heart beat over Galvis, Asche or Nix offensively.

    • hk

      April 23, 2014 04:41 PM

      I agree that Nix sucks, but the reason that they got him and dumped Frandsen is that Nix can play SS and Frandsen can’t. This became a need when Galvis went on the DL.

      • Bob

        April 23, 2014 05:08 PM

        The more curious decision was keeping Hernandez on the roster for what amounted to a few weeks at the big league roster rather than Frandsen. Had Hernandez been sent down to start the year and Nix signed, Nix could’ve been waived once Galvis returned from the DL and Galvis would’ve been paired with Frandsen. I think Sandberg is very big on defense and defensive replacements and just saw the defensive versatility of Nix as being more valuable to his managerial approach then Frandsen’s pinch hitting capabilities.

  3. Bubba0101

    April 23, 2014 12:28 PM

    2 questions: 1) Should Giles be called up in your opinion. You can tell me that that is a stupid question since you havent seen him yet and I wont get offended. 2) What are we leymen looking at when we see the Franco video, other than the fact that it looks like he enjoys food. Thanks EL. Have a good wedding.

    • Eric Longenhagen

      April 23, 2014 10:02 PM

      The main takeaways from the video are how much head violence there is when he swings and how explosive the bat speed is. Hard to see the ball when your head is all over the place, hard to make good contact when you can’t see the ball.

  4. Mark66

    April 23, 2014 04:29 PM

    I”m trying to remember the last position player the Phils brought up to the majors from the farm system that developed into a major contributor. I will not count D. Drown yet because he hasn’t earned that designation. That is part of my problem with the Phils. That have made really poor decisions at the draft and then with the ability to teach. It has been a long time. And then I see a player like Trout who grew up here in the east go to a west coast team, and then Tanaka slip to the Yankees for Gonzalez. Somehow it would appear Gonzalez will be a bust. Ownership really needs to look at the front office, changes seem to be in order. The Philly organization seems to be in a free fall.

    • hk

      April 23, 2014 04:47 PM

      While I agree with your general premise, in fairness to the Phillies, they did not have a chance to draft Mike Trout. He was taken in the 2009 draft, a draft in which the Phils did not have a 1st round pick (having squandered it in the Raul Ibanez signing). Even if they hadn’t squandered their pick, it would have been after the Angels picked Trout.

      It’s also a little unfair to compare Tanaka to Gonzalez. The Yankees gave Tanaka $155M for 7 years. The Phils gave MAG $12M for 3 years. Apples to oranges.

      • Mark66

        April 23, 2014 10:03 PM

        The Phils had and have the money to sign Tanaka, that was my point. The waste on Ibanez as well as many others. Again my point is they do not choose wisely.

      • hk

        April 24, 2014 05:59 AM

        They would have had to exceed the luxury tax limit to sign Tanaka. Do they have the money to do this? Sure, the owners are all multi-millionaires or billionaires. However, as fans we should not expect them to spend -or to have to spend – that much. Their past bad contracts and extensions made it impossible for them to sign Tanaka and avoid paying that tax. What’s worse is that their quick fall from being perennial contenders to mediocrity made it unlikely that Tanaka would have even played here.

        My point is that we can all blame RAJ for his moves that led us into this mess coming into this past off-season, but I don’t think ownership gave him the freedom to sign Tanaka.

    • Bubba0101

      April 23, 2014 04:51 PM

      Im with ya Mark. Ive seen about a dozen relief pitchers come up form AAA in the past two years who should seemingly contribute to the team in a bullpen role and they just fail miserably. Diekman is the exception and the book is still out on him. And all of the position players we use from the farm system are 23rd-25th men on the bench. And there are another dozen of them. And the prospects we traded havent exactly lit up the big leagues so I dont think thats the answer here. Something is broken. We are hoping Franco pans out into an above average regular 3B and Biddle works his way into a #3 man in the rotation. And neither of those two options seem like they have better than a 50/50 shot of working.

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