Is Maikel Franco Ready for the Bigs? Amaro Says No; Hails Defense At Third Base

In a recent interview with Ruben Amaro, he discussed the possibility of bringing up Phillies top prospect, Maikel Franco, with Cody Asche currently on the disabled list with hamstring tendinitis. Currently, Cesar Hernandez has been filling in for Asche and defensively has done quite well considering he never played the position before spring training. Before hitting the DL, Asche was having an excellent month offensively after a slow start. In 17 games, Asche was hitting .317 with nine doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs.

Like Asche in the majors, Maikel Franco had a very slow start in AAA Leigh Valley. In 26 games since late April, Franco has hit .301 with eight doubles, four home runs and 15 RBIs. Franco was rated the No. 17 prospect in the game by Baseball America this past offseason after batting .320 with 32 home runs and 103 RBIs last year between Single-A and Double-A.

In Ruben Amaro’s interview, he explained that he did not feel that Franco was a major leaguer at this point in time. Through his bat is heating up, Amaro still believes that Franco isn’t hitting the ball at a level that prompts a call up to the big leagues. Though Amaro doesn’t believe that Franco’s bat is ready, he does believe Franco is a better defender at the position.

To quote Sandberg on the situation, “I give Franco the edge on the defense just with the natural glove instincts that he has. He just has a knack for reading balls and drop-stepping and real quick with his feet, even for a guy with his size, and he showed that in the spring."

Even with Asche heating up before the getting hurt, the Phllies third baseman ranks 24th in baseball in OPS (.636), 25th in extra-base hits (12) and 27th in both batting (.207) and total bases (57). With Hernandez is only hitting .147 with one homer in 17 games, should the Phillies call up Franco? If so, what do you do with Asche? You could stick him in the outfield with Domonic Brown struggling or groom him in a similar matter as Chase Utley and move him to second. Or, do you mix Franco in with Ruf and Howard in a platoon at 1st base? Only time will tell. Right now, it looks like Franco will be with the Ironpigs moving forward.

 Andrew Shipotofsky is a Writer for Philliedelphia. Follow him of Twitter @Ashipotofsky