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.

Grade: F

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  1. pamikeydc

    October 17, 2017 11:40 AM

    Nice. Short and sweet, unlike his swing

  2. Romus

    October 17, 2017 02:08 PM

    The guy is puzzling.
    K rate is plus for a supposedly power guy…..16% career, 15% -2017
    BB rate, below average, but not unusual for a Latin power guy,. about 7% both career and in ’17.
    But that does not mean he has a good hit approach, which we all know is horrific.
    One of the league leaders in GDP so he rolls many outside the zone pitches over.
    I think, however, F may be too harsh a grade…..D for me..

  3. Romus

    October 17, 2017 02:32 PM

    Looking at Maikel Franco vs Aramis Ramirez thru their age24 seasons:
    Aramis Ramirez:
    PAs –1838….slash .252/.300/.420….17%-K….6%-BB….64Hrs
    PAs –1646…slash .247/.300/.426…..16%-K….7%-BB….63HRs
    Would be great for the Phillies if Franco’s future mirrored the remaining portion of Ramirez’ career.

    • Michael C Lorah

      October 18, 2017 12:05 PM

      I can only hope for that kind of career for Maikel. Heck, even achieving half of Aramis Ramirez’s success would be a big positive!

  4. Chase

    October 17, 2017 03:14 PM

    Let Freddy have the super utility role next season. He knows he’s only been starting because of the state the team has been in these past few years. If he were a FA this winter, what would he be offered, by what team, and for what role? If you believe he should get a starting role anywhere else, then you don’t believe in Klentak’s ability to trade him.

    Freddy will add a lot of value from the bench next season; experienced guy, team leader, speaks Spanish, excellent defence around the infield. Will definitely be helpful when Franco or JP slump next year.

  5. Bill

    October 17, 2017 09:19 PM

    I don’t understand why posters on this and other sites insist on anointing J. P. Crawford as a 2018 starting Phillies infielder. He spent 2 years in triple A and had 2 good months. He was ok in his September call-up but hardly overwhelming. I’m not sure he represents an upgrade on Galvis. You get better OBP in exchange for less power and what would probably be a slight downgrade in defense. Scott Kingery strikes me as a better candidate for promotion.

    • MplsPhilsFan

      October 18, 2017 09:22 AM

      Bill, I am not sure it would be fair to characterize Crawford as having 2 years in AAA. I spent part of the 2016 season there, and most of the 2017 season. In total, he accumulated 214 at bats in AAA and, while the power was not where you would hope it would be, his .342 on base percentage was very good. His defense, other than the first 2 months of the 2017 season, was consistently excellent.

      You say he only had a good two months, but really it was 3 excellent months where his power spiked dramatically, while maintaining his pristine obp and fielding. Why has he been anointed as a starter for 2018? Because he deserves it. With the glut of talent at the SS position, I am not sure how many all star appearances he will have, but this is a player who will consistently be a 3-4 win player for us for the next decade, with his plate discipline, base running and defense.

      • MplsPhilsFan

        October 18, 2017 09:23 AM

        Sorry, that should have read, “he spent” part of the 2016 season, not “I spent”. Not sure why that was autocorrected

    • Michael C Lorah

      October 18, 2017 10:05 AM

      To add to what MplsPhilsFan said, we’re looking for the Phillies to upgrade and improve. What we’ve seen from Crawford through the minors and even in his limited MLB experience suggests to us that he is at least Freddy Galvis’s equal. As much as we admire Freddy’s defense and charisma, we want to see the Phillies put more talent on the field. Crawford’s defense passed the eye and statistical test. His OBP and plate discipline have lived entirely up to expectations. His batting line was low, but he’s always needed some time to adjust to each level – and even the so-so offense he mustered in September was basically a dead-heat against Freddy’s offense.

      Crawford’s floor is already Galvis, with potential to be tremendously better.

      Kingery looks very promising too. But the Phillies have Cesar Hernandez providing plus offense and defense, with back-to-back 3+ WAR seasons. Second base isn’t a priority position to upgrade. When Kingery’s time comes, we look forward to his arrival, I assure you.

      • Jerry Spradlin

        October 20, 2017 12:14 AM

        Agreed, and the Phils have six years of team control for J.P., one for Freddy. Plus, Freddy turns 28 this offseason, J.P. will be 23.

        Even if they turn out to be the same player, i’ll take the younger one with more team control, and upside.

  6. Shane

    October 19, 2017 04:00 PM

    2017 was Franco’s Sophomore Slump, a season late. Writing him off now is premature. Let’s see how he responds, if he can make the necessary adjustments next season. It’s his first year of arbitration and he will still be cheap. Let us see how he fits into a team that is expecting to win more.

    • Michael Schickling

      October 20, 2017 02:31 PM

      I would argue that last year was Franco’s sophmore slump.

      This year represents Franco failing out of school.

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