ESPN’s Law Gives Sobering Scouting Report on Franco – Phillies Nation

ESPN’s Law Gives Sobering Scouting Report on Franco

Franco is a fast riser - but how high has he gone?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.

To read Keith Law’s full post, click here.

If you’d like to read on Jay Floyd’s interview with Phillies director of player development, Joe Jordan, click here.



  1. Jay Floyd

    July 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Dear “Reputable National Writer”, seeing a player once and asserting that you know what he does on a daily basis is misleading. Sincerely, Jay Floyd

    One of the best things about Franco is his ability to adapt to a pitcher and make adjustments. He doesn’t chase the same pitches twice. Franco is a smart hitter, learns on the fly and can hit the ball where it’s pitched.

    Fans, don’t take this guy’s word as gospel. He has seen Franco a grand total of one time this season and it was a game in which Franco was dealing with jammed fingers on his right hand but still slugged a homer.

    • Alex Lee

      July 9, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Got to agree with Jay here. Law is also notorious for being stubborn, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this one game sours him on Franco for a while.

      On the other hand, maybe a report like this will help the people who think we should call him up realize that Franco isn’t the second coming of Mike Schmidt either… there are flaws in his game, hopefully less than Law sees, but he needs another year or two to iron them out.

  2. George

    July 9, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Keith Law is one opinion only. I’m sure there are other scouts with different opinions, scouts who study players everyday and only have to write scouting reports and not attempts at entertaining the general public.

    Even if Law is correct on certain things, Franco is young and can probably make adjustments. I haven’t seen Franco, myself, but the results have been there at more than one level, which should indicate that he does have the ability to adapt to a higher grade of pitching.

    • Brian

      July 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      “Keith Law is one opinion only”

      This. Its just one data point. One to consider sure, but its nowhere near an end all be all.

  3. Rob

    July 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Not only is Keith Law only one opinion, but he is notorious for his hatred of the Phillies. If anyone could point out one positive he’s ever given of a Phillie, I’d be more than happy to take a look. This guy’s seen Franco one time, and he’s suddenly an expert? Yeah I don’t buy hit. Keith Law’s a hack.

  4. Jaron B

    July 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Keith Law is way too pessimistic for my tastes, but he does have some valid args.

  5. Pingback: Never a Dull Inning: Harrisburg Shut-Out for Six, But Biddle Battles | Jesse Biddle - LHP #54

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