Season in Review: Maikel Franco

2015 marked the year the Phillies finally let go of the past. So goodbye, Jimmy Rollins – traded in 2014. Goodbye, Cole Hamels. Goodbye, Chase Utley.

But 2015 also marked the welcome of a key piece to the lineup for years to come. Say hello to Maikel Franco.

Let’s be honest. The Phillies do not have a lot of offensive talent in the system that is right on the cusp of making the majors. There is plenty to be excited about given the success of Double-A Reading this season. But think 2017 or 2018 for some of those names.

Franco’s time is now and he certainly proved it.

For a while, it looked like Franco was going to be the team’s leader in almost every offensive category. Make no mistake about it, this kid can hit.

Franco hit .280 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI this season, a huge step up from his .179 average and five RBI in 16 games last season.

What is more impressive is the number of games it took for Franco to reach those numbers. Franco played in 80, one game short of half a season. And he was halfway to 100 RBI and nearly halfway to 30 home runs.

The Phillies have been desperately searching for a right-handed power bat for years. Maybe they finally grew one internally.

It’s hard to not get excited over a guy who gets 37 extra-base hits in 335 plate appearances. But this doesn’t mean Franco doesn’t come with flaws.

Playing 75 games at third base, Franco made 10 errors. He’s got talent with the glove at the hot corner for sure, but he’s going to have to cut down on the errors to make an impact defensively.

But otherwise, what else can you say about Franco? He was clutch. He was smooth. He was often times a game-changer when the Phillies were rolling strong.

And when Franco went down with a fractured wrist, so too went some of the Phillies compete level this season. That goes to show you the kind of impact a player like Franco can have in the lineup.

As the future of this team molds with the prospects the team has acquired and grown, Franco will almost certainly be right in the middle of it.

Kevin Durso is editorial assistant for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.