We’ve all fallen in love with the Phillies farm system while witnessing several players tear it up this season. Maikel Franco, Cody Asche, and Jesse Biddle are the new faces of the minors, and rightfully so. Each has given you something to look forward to for the future.
ESPN’s Keith Law says wait a tick. Law scouted the Reading Fightin’ Phils last week and came away with some interesting things to say about Franco, a 20-year-old third baseman who has been tearing it up since being promoted.
Franco is a right-handed hitter who gets his hands very high and deep at the plate, nearly locking his right elbow right before he brings his hands forward, and his above-average bat speed can only go so far in getting the bat head to the zone in time. He’s very strong and when he gets his hips started early enough he’s got 65 or 70 raw power (on the 20-80 scouting scale), although the timing of his hip rotation varies from pitch to pitch.
His approach, however, is a disaster right now — not only does he struggle to recognize off-speed stuff, especially changeups, but he’s only interested in pitches he can crush, making no adjustments to where the pitch is located or to its type. If you signal that you’re just trying to murder fastballs, you’re not going to see many fastballs in the zone. That approach shows up in his lack of patience, with just one walk in Reading, on June 23, but it will show up soon enough in his batting average, as well.
It’s true, there are flaws in Franco’s game. He’ll need to readjust at each level, but it’s hard to complain about the kid when he’s been tearing it up. Sure, he won’t hit .400 forever, but there are good signs and bad signs, just like with each prospect that laces ’em up on a daily basis.
Law also gives his thoughts on Kelly Dugan who just made a jump to Reading:
Dugan’s tools are pretty average across the board — he’s a 45-50 runner with a 55 arm and might be a 55 glove in right — but he’s got a good feel to hit thanks to fast wrists that allow him to accelerate his bat very quickly. A left-handed hitter, Dugan has no stride, just raising and lowering his front leg, and crouches more than you’d like to see, but with good hip rotation and solid results so far I wouldn’t argue for reducing any of the noise in his swing until it becomes a problem.
The lack of tools is a little bit of a concern, but his plan at the plate is better than Franco’s and he’s a good enough athlete to stay in right and perhaps end up above average there, making him a potential everyday guy in a system that could use a few more of them.