2017 Phillies Report Card: Maikel Franco
Twenty-two out of twenty-two.
That’s what Maikel Franco ranked out of qualified MLB third basemen in fWAR, wRC+, wOBA, OBP, and OPS. He was also in the bottom half in average, slugging, UZR, walk rate, ISO, speed score, and baserunning.
Now I have nothing against Maikel Franco, but to categorize this season as anything but an abject failure would be borderline delusional. I don’t really have much positive to say. He was better in medium and high leverage situations and produced his second straight year with a positive clutch score, but that still wasn’t enough to save him from having the second-worst WPA among qualified third basemen.
Naturally Phillies fans want the team to upgrade the position, but of course there’s not much resembling a franchise third baseman in the current crop of free agents. The only free agent third baseman who fits the Phillies timeframe (i.e. below the age of 30) is Mike Moustakas. Of course, Moustakas figures to have plenty of suitors, and Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail have all but ruled out spending big on free agents this offseason.
The trade market doesn’t seem especially likely either, as the Phillies would probably use any trade capital on starting pitching. As such, the front office will likely wait until next offseason to make a run at Manny Machado. That means Franco could have a chance in the 2018 season to prove he’s not a bust, assuming the team trades Freddy Galvis and/or Cesar Hernandez, opening up shortstop for JP Crawford.
However, Franco’s 0.8 career fWAR/600 PAs may have already written his ticket out of town.