Does Maikel Franco Make the Grade?

Maikel Franco - David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Let's take a look at what third base prospect Maikel Franco could bring to fantasy leagues in the future.

Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.

 

Without further ado, let’s find out if Maikel Franco makes the grade…

 

1) Baseball IQ – After entering the 2013 season as the #11 overall ranked prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization by MLB.com, this masher put his tools to work during his breakout campaign as he became the undisputed #1 prospect in the organization by season’s end. Rating: 10 out of 10.

2) Batting-Eye – Franco has struck-out less than 15% of his at-bat’s since the start of the 2012 season. His K:BB rate has been around 2:1 over his career. This prospect isn’t as prone to the K as some sluggers around the league, which will help the batting average. Rating: 9 out of 10.

3) Hit-Tool – The prospect really took off after joining the Eastern League last year. While there, Franco hit for a .339 batting average. Although Triple-A hasn’t been as kind to Franco, his numbers have been on the rise recently. Rating: 9 out of 10.

4) Power – Franco burst onto the prospect scene after blasting 31 long-balls in 2013, making him one of the most coveted power hitting prospects in dynasty leagues. After a slow start to begin the 2014 season, Franco’s bat has started to heat up, and the HR’s should follow shortly. This is a potential 25-to-30 HR bat in the big leagues. Rating: 10 out of 10.

5) Speed – Base-stealing isn’t this slugger’s game. With only 5 SB’s total since the beginning of the 2012 season, anything you get here should be considered a bonus. Rating: 6 out of 10.

6) Body – The third baseman checks in at 6’1" and 180 pounds. Still just 21 years-old, Franco could gain weight/muscle as he continues to fill out. Although his defensive range has been in question, there is no reason to believe that Franco can’t handle 3B to begin his career. Rating: 10 out of 10.

7) Durability – During each of the past two minor league seasons, the slugger has logged over 500 at-bat’s. It shouldn’t be long before he is logging 550-600 AB’s for the Philadelphia Phillies. Rating: 10 out of 10.

8) Ceiling – Although I don’t ever expect double-digit stolen base totals out of the top prospect, I would gladly take 30 HR’s + 100 RBI’s from a declining 3B position. Franco could become a fantasy option similar to that of Aramis Ramirez in his prime. Rating: 9 out of 10.

9) Floor – The slow start to begin the 2014 season has some worried, and the low batting average has delayed the prospect’s timetable. If 2013 is the outlier, then we could be looking at Pablo Sandoval – the bad version. Rating: 7 out of 10.

10) Future – 2013 was a break-out year for the Phillies’ top prospect. After starting the 2014 season off slow, Maikel has picked up his game lately, and a call-up could be on the horizon. The slugger is on pace to give fantasy managers a top 10 option at the hot-corner in the not-so-distant future. Rating: 8 out of 10.

Overall Grade: 88% - B+

Future Outlook: The Philadelphia Phillies’ top prospect would have been called up the second Cody Asche was placed on the disabled list had it not been for his ice-cold start. Although Franco has begun to turn things around and started hitting recently, the organization appears in no hurry to rush their future cornerstone to the majors before he is ready. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ball-club decides to call up their third baseman of the future tomorrow, or a few months down the road. Either way, we should get a glimpse of Maikel Franco in the show before the end of the season. From there it won’t be long until we are discussing this prospect as a top 10 fantasy option at the third base position.  

 

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