Charlie Manuel is more than two years removed from being the Philadelphia Phillies' manager, though in the same seven-day period that the Phillies gave their current manager a contract extension, Manuel has been rather vocal.
Earlier this week, Manuel suggested in an interview with the AP that "he knows" he could still manage in the league.
He followed that up Wednesday by telling 94 WIP's Ike Reese and Glen Macnow that upon being asked he does believe Maikel Franco could hit 30 home runs and have 100 RBIs in 2016.
“Oh he definitely can put together that type of season,” Manuel admitted. “As far as being this year? It wouldn’t surprise me at all, really. This guy is gonna put up big numbers for awhile. He loves to hit and he loves to play , but also he stays very loose at the plate and he looks for balls to hit. He looks for good pitches to hit. Although he likes to swing the bat and he’ll chase some balls, he can handle most of the pitches. And he’s improved his load since year, his approach to the plate is much better. He’s got what I call a power load.”
This spring, Franco has hit eight home runs in just 61 at-bats, which is the most of any player in either the Grapefruit or Cactus leagues. If Franco were to continue on that type of pace during a 400 at-bat season, which is less at-bats than he will have, he would be on pace for over 50 home runs. He also has 20 RBIs this spring, a total that if projected out in the same experiment would top 131. Barring a 2006 Ryan Howard type of breakout season, Franco won't top either of those numbers in 2016, but the fact that we are discussing it shows how good of a spring he's had.
In 80 games in 2015, Franco batted .280 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs. If you double the amount of games to 160, Franco would have hit 28 home runs and drove in 50 RBIs in 2015, leading many to believe that the 23-year-old is capable of hitting 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in 2016.
Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) is the Managing Editor of Philliedelphia.com, focusing on news and features