Reading Eagle Survey: Franco Ranked Top Phillies Prospect – Phillies Nation

Reading Eagle Survey: Franco Ranked Top Phillies Prospect

Recently, Mike Drago of The Reading Eagle conducted a survey of about ten experts, made up of writers and other media members, designed to rank the top prospects in the Philadelphia developmental system.

The participating individuals, who are all close to the Phillies minor league system, were asked to rank their personal top 15, which were tabulated to determine the paper’s published list of top prospects. Those that offered their insight for the ratings this time around included Bob Brookover, Tony Graham, Mitch Rupert, Jeff Schuler, Mike Drago himself and yours truly, PhilliesNation’s Jay Floyd.

The collection of experts found that fast rising third base prospect Maikel Franco, who represented the Phillies organization in the MLB All-Star Futures Game this year, is the club’s top minor leaguer.  Franco, who recently began playing first base is primed to make an impact with the big club in the near future and has become the Phils’ most highly touted offensive prospect since Ryan Howard was trying to break into the big leagues.

Last year’s results ranked lefty hurler Jesse Biddle at the top.  The Philadelphia native fell in this year’s rankings while others rose and some fell completely off of the list.

Here’s a review of The Reading Eagle’s Phillies prospect rankings…

1- Maikel Franco, 3B, Double-A Reading…the 21-year-old slugger notched his 30th homer and 100th RBI of the season on Monday night.  Franco, who began the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, is one of the biggest breakout prospects in all of minor league baseball this season and plans to continue his outstanding year in the Dominican Winter League.  In 127 games this season combined at the two levels, the youngster sports an impressive .313/.352/.566 line.
2- Jesse Biddle, P, Double-A Reading…selected with the 27th overall draft pick in 2010, the Philadelphia native has garnered much attention in his career and had appeared to be fairly dominant in his first few pro seasons.  This year, however, the left-hander has had his struggles, collecting just three wins since he sported a 1.74 ERA and an 11.61 K/9 mark through five April starts.  His 7.11 ERA in five July outings was alarming, but since then, the 21-year-old has settled in and tallied a 2.79 ERA in five starts that have followed his roughest stretch of the season.  Rumors suggest that Biddle is expected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year and he should be up for an invitation to big league spring training next year.    
3- J.P. Crawford, SS, Class A Lakewood…this year’s top Phillies draft choice (16th overall, their highest pick since Gavin Floyd was taken with the 4th pick in 2001) has proven to be a tremendous talent since turning pro.  The 18-year-old lefty batter led the Gulf Coast League in hitting for much of his time there and has continued to excel since joining the BlueClaws less than two weeks ago.  Overall in 47 games, the Lakewood, CA native has posted a .341 average with nine doubles, three triples, a home run, 21 RBI and 14 stolen bases. 
4- Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Triple-A Lehigh Valley…the 23-year-old All-Star second baseman and occasional center fielder has continued to look strong at Triple-A this season.  Through 102 games in the minors this year, the Venezuela native has sported a .324 average with two homers, 36 RBI and 32 steals, while he also tallied a .250 average with a double and an RBI in nine big league games with the Phillies.  Look for Hernandez to earn a steady spot on the big league roster by next season.
5- Roman Quinn, SS, Class A Lakewood…the Phillies’ 2nd round draft pick from 2011 has been outspoken at times regarding his frustration with the assignment of having to learn to switch hit and adapt to a new position upon turning pro.  Prior to being sidelined with a broken wrist in late June, the 20-year-old had posted a .238 batting average along with five homers, 21 RBI and 32 stolen bases in 67 games.  If Crawford continues to prove to be a fast rising talent, the Phils may feel more inclined to return Quinn to his “natural position” in center field as he climbs the developmental ladder, which could relax the Florida native and allow him to focus more on his work at the plate.
6- Adam Morgan, P, Triple-A Lehigh Valley…the 23-year-old has looked great since returning from a shoulder injury on July 22nd.  In his last seven starts, the lefty hurler has posted a 1.59 ERA.  Overall in 15 starts for the ‘Pigs this year, the Phils’ 3rd round pick out of the University of Alabama in 2011 has a 2-6 record with a 3.60 ERA and a 6.17 K/9 mark.  Morgan could be considered an option for the big league rotation next season.
7- Kelly Dugan, OF, Double-A Reading…the Phils’ 2nd round pick in 2009 has had a breakout season.  The 22-year-old slugged his 20th homer of the year on Monday night and could really put some pressure on the organization to give him a look in the big leagues at some point next season, if he continues to progress at this pace.  Combined at Reading and Clearwater this year, Dugan has a .292 average and an .870 OPS in 106 games.                 
8- Ethan Martin, P, Philadelphia…currently with the big league team, the right-hander looked strong following an ugly April this season in the minors with Lehigh Valley.  After sporting a 7.66 ERA in his first five starts of the year, the 24-year-old proceeded to post a 3.28 ERA in his following 16 outings, which earned him a shot with the Phillies.  Martin, who was acquired from the Dodgers in last year’s Shane Victorino trade and was LA’s 1st round pick in 2008, has a 2-2 record with a 6.33 ERA in his first five big league starts and is another candidate for the 2014 pitching rotation.
9- Cameron Rupp, C, Triple-A Lehigh Valley…the 24-year-old University of Texas product has looked excellent this season.  The righty hitting backstop has a .259 average with 14 home runs and 45 RBI in 91 combined games at Reading and Lehigh Valley this season.  Rupp was the Phils’ 3rd round draft pick in 2010 is often credited with his outstanding ability to lead the pitchers that he works with as well as his great arm behind the plate. He is likely the lead argument against the Phillies re-signing Carlos Ruiz for next season.
10- Carlos Tocci, OF, Class A Lakewood…the Venezuela native is often praised for his raw tools on the offensive side and his terrific defensive abilities.  The righty hitter turned 18-years-old this past week and has looked every bit of his young age in the South Atlantic League. After posting a .236 average in 60 games prior to the All-Star break, Tocci has batted .183 in 54 games since then.  Tocci, a righty hitter, should return to Lakewood next year to continue to refine his approach at the plate.
11 Shane Watson, P, Class A Lakewood– supplemental round draft pick, 2012.                      
12 Zach Green, 3B, short-season Class A Williamsport– 3rd round pick, 2012.        
13 Tommy Joseph, C, Double-A Reading (DL)– acquired in Hunter Pence trade from SF, 2012.   
14 Aaron Altherr, OF, Class A Advanced Clearwater– 9th round pick, 2009.        

15 Dylan Cozens, OF, short-season Class A Williamsport- 2nd round pick, 2012.

Other players that received votes…
Kenny Giles, P, Clearwater; Mike Nesseth, P, Reading; Cord Sandberg, OF, Gulf Coast League; Andrew Knapp, P, Williamsport; Leandro Castro, OF, Lehigh Valley; Phillippe Aumont, P, Lehigh Valley; Mitch Gueller, P, Williamsport; Perci Garner, P, Clearwater; Seth Rosin, P, Reading; Andrew Pullin, 2B, Williamsport; Hoby Milner, P, Clearwater; Yoel Mecias, P, Lakewood; David Buchanan, P, Lehigh Valley; Tyson Gillies, OF, Lehigh Valley; Jiwan James, OF, Clearwater; Sebastian Valle, C, Reading.

Two catchers fell considerably on this list. Valle, who ranked in the 5th spot last year, dropped out of the top 15 and Joseph, who was ranked 2nd last year, dipped quite a bit as well.

Pitchers Brody Colvin and Austin Wright were among the prospects that fell completely off the list.

Players such as Freddy Galvis, Cody Asche and Jonathan Pettibone, who had notable time in the majors or who appeared to be with the big league team for the long haul were not considered in the survey.

To read the original piece from The Reading Eagle, click here.



  1. Ken Bland

    August 27, 2013 at 8:31 am


    I have a question for you.

    Do you have a guess on whether Franco sees time with the big club in September, and if so, how would you see him used?

    Not only that, but in your opinion, as opposed to guessing the Phils decision, would you call him up, and how would you use him.


  2. Hogey's Role

    August 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

    It looks like our farm system is getting a little stronger and starting to turn around…

    Jay do you think we’ll see Franco in September?? Who might be the September call ups

  3. schmenkman

    August 27, 2013 at 8:41 am

    On his 21st birthday last night, Franco hit a 2-run HR in the bottom of the ninth to send it into extras, where Kelly Dugan walked it off in the 10th. The HR gave Franco 30 for the year, and 100 RBIs.

    Sincerely hope he’s not called up in September. Absolutely no need to rush him.

    • Chuck A.

      August 27, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Agreed..there’s no need to rush him but I would think that Franco will be part of the Phillies long-term plans sooner rather than later. Learning about guys like Franco and Asche…and seeing the emergence of Dom Brown…have made this awful season a lot more bearable.

      • Hogey's Role

        August 27, 2013 at 9:38 am

        I don’t know about this rushing him talk,I realize this is his first year above a ball but the way he’s been playing this year I think he might be worth a look as a September call up…

        I’d hate for him to have to wait til he’s 25-26 to get a shot on the big club…

      • schmenkman

        August 27, 2013 at 9:47 am

        There are a few numbers between 21 and 25-26. 😉 He’ll still be 21 next spring and most of next season.

      • Alex M.

        August 27, 2013 at 11:29 am


        The key here is there is zero benefit to Franco by calling him up to Philly for September. First off adding him would use up a space on the 40 man roster and correct me if I am wrong, but it would start his clock for arbitration. He is protected for one more season from the Rule 5 Draft and still has not played in AAA. Why would you call him up for September? Not to mention this is only his second full season so you do not want to push him too hard that it keeps him from playing in fall leagues and being ready for next season. Not to mention he will not be playing in Philly next season either, there is no place for him and even if the Phillies wait till 2015 to make him a regular he will only be 22 to start the 2015 season. What is the rush?

      • Hogey's Role

        August 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

        I call him up to see how he reacts to major league pitching, maybe he can handle it… why mess around with guys we know don’t have a future and won’t be contributing in the future… I’d call him up and try him and first and third see how he handles the position and the majors, it really doesn’t hurt anything to give him a shot, maybe it won’t work out, but then again it just might…

      • Alex M.

        August 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm

        How do you even know that any of the other players the Phillies could call up wont contribute in the future? You act like Franco is the only thing we have going for us. We need to see players that are in AAA or are eligible for the Rule 5 draft so that we can assess if they are worth keeping around. Adding Franco would take up a spot on the 40 man roster for next season as well, when we do not need to add him yet. While it would be cool to see him in the majors it makes more sense to be smart and not rush a player that is young and still needs time in the minors. What were to happen if he went to the majors and fell flat on his face and because of that he lost some confidence? The Phillies have not promoted a player directly from AA in a very long time and I cannot see it happening this season.

      • Hogey's Role

        August 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

        In your post lower you suggest calling Michael Martinez back up, there’s a spot for Franco right there… that’s just one example, Martinez is worthless, yet he should get another shot to hit .125 again?? Good suggestion, why don’t we let you run the team

      • Alex M.

        August 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm


        First off I did not suggest calling Mini Mart back up, but honestly do you really think that they are not going to bring him up on September 1st? Amaro loves him and he is on the 40 man roster. I would much rather give the opportunity to guys like Castro, Susdorf, Hewitt or Dugan. C’mon be realistic do any of us want Martinez back, HELL NO! But more than likely he will be back on the 1st.

    • wbramh

      August 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Then again, by his 21st birthday Al Kaline was starting his second All-Star Game.
      Yeah, I know, had the Tiger’s hadn’t rushed him up Al might still be playing right field.

      But seriously, first base seems the better bet fo Franco, what with Asche looking promising at 3rd and Franco’s relatively limited range. He certainly has the glove for playing first but needs the time to adapt.

      • schmenkman

        August 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm

        Kaline was one of the best young players in the history of the game. No one is putting Franco anywhere near that category.

      • wbramh

        August 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

        Obviously I was joking about my comparison between Kaline at 20 and Franco at 21 (hence the “But seriously”).
        Kaline was in a league by himself when he made the starting lineup in the All-Star game by age 20 (the youngest starter in history).
        But there have been more than a few players who stuck in the major league level by age 21, Hall-of-Famers and lesser players.
        At some point, for a player to get better he has to play against tougher opponents.
        Frankly, had Dom Brown not had the benefit of Wally Joyner’s coaching while in the bigs he might still be languishing in the Phillies’ or some other team’s minor league system.

      • Hogey's Role

        August 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm

        I agree with wbramh

      • wbramh

        August 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

        You’re a wise person.

  4. hk

    August 27, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I’m with schmenkman in that there’s no need to rush Franco. I’m also concerned with the switch to 1B if it is permanent. If the only position he can play is 1B, it devalues him as a prospect.

    • Hogey's Role

      August 27, 2013 at 9:34 am

      He’s a pretty decent third baseman too, there’s not many holes that they need to fill currently,I think he’ll probably get some time in the outfield in the winter leagues…

    • wbramh

      August 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      What other position could Ryan Howard play other than 1B?
      It didn’t seem to devalue his worth.
      Nor did it diminish Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx.

      Plus, Franco, while having a good glove and arm, has limited range. 1B may be his most natural position. With any luck Maikel could turn out to be another Dick Allen.

      • schmenkman

        August 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        It’s easier to find a good hitter who can play first base than one who can play any other position. First base is the position of last resort when a fielder can’t hack it anywhere else. Of course Howard would be more valuable if he could play another position.

      • hk

        August 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm

        Ryan Howard is a lefty thrower who is too slow to play OF; therefore, he’s stuck at 1B. If Howard could have produced the same offense while playing another position, he would have been significantly more valuable than he has was as a 1B. Also, since Howard is stuck at 1B and is owed at least $85M, it looks like he’s going to be playing 1B in Philly for a while making the move of Franco to 1B even more perplexing.

      • wbramh

        August 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

        Yeah, but the point is that first base was designed for those big, slow injury-prone, power-hitting guys with a wingspan like Howard so it’s not just a last resort for players who can’t hack it in any other position.
        In other words, it’s less last resort than natural position.
        RF needs a strong arm, CF needs speed, SS needs range, 3B needs reaction time, Catcher needs crazy and 1B needs 30 or more HRs.

        I suspect Maikel Franco will turn out to be a more natural first baseman even though he can hack it at 3rd.Hopefully he’ll drive his 30 into the seats. I think Asche is the better all-around third baseman. As long as Asche can hold his own at bat Franco is still out of a job there, flexible or not – hence, the team is looking at first base.Because he’s already a decent 3rd baseman I doubt Franco will struggle to adapt to iB. Still, plunking him on first in September is rushing it for no apparent gain to any party.

  5. Ryne Duren

    August 27, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Don’t be shocked if he’s brought up in Sept. fellas. They have moved him to 1st base. Why would they do that unless they had ideas of bringing him up to play in Sept so Asche can continue to play 3rd.
    In ST next season I can foresee him competing for a job at 3rd. That should be a very interesting thing to see guys. The way Asche is turning it on with the bat is exciting. Both him and Ruff work the pitcher. I’d like to see Ruff ease up on the strike outs a little. We have to remember also to be patient cause most of the pitchers these guys are facing are the first time for them. We won’t get a real feel for these guys talent till they’ve been around the league.
    Dugan looks like a player too! It actually seems that our farm isn’t growing all weeds these days.

  6. Alex M.

    August 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Franco is not going to be in Philly this season. He is only 21 there is no reason to rush him. The reason the Phillies are trying him out at 1st is because they really like what they see from Asche. Asche is superior defensively to Franco and likely makes more sense at the hot corner for his bat but more importantly his potential gold glove caliber defense. Franco profiles better at 1st or possibly in a corner outfield spot (would mean more time in minors). I think that it makes more sense to not push him before he is ready not to mention there are a lot of other players that deserve their shot as well. Not to mention most of which deserve a shot before the 21 year old because of time served in the minors and performance. The Phillies are not going to rush their prized prospect, they rarely do that with any prospects. Potential September call ups include….Cameron Rupp, Cody Overbeck, Phillippe Aumont, Marcuico Robles, Tyler Cloyd, Luis Garcia, Justin Friend, Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, Tyson Gillies, Leandro Castro, Michael Martinez, Steve Susdorf, Tyler Henson and Greg Smith. Now many of these guys would need to be added to the 40 man roster that could be done with moving Lannan and Revere to the 60 day DL. Designating Raul Valdes, Zach Collier (could be called up since he has been hot) and/or Michael Martinez for assignment.

    In short the Phillies would rather look at players that will need to be added to the 40 man roster or are almost out of options than a young potential star that is only 21 and could use more time in the minors.

    • Hogey's Role

      August 27, 2013 at 11:16 am

      where is the proof that asche is superior defensively to Franco?? I haven’t seen anything suggesting that

      • wbramh

        August 28, 2013 at 4:27 pm

        Past stats do give the edge at 3rd to Asche over Franco which is not to say Franco can’t hack it there. He does have an exceptional arm and a good glove but from what I’ve read,but allegedly less range than Asche. That said, I see two deciding factors determining the contest at 3rd.

        1. Whether Asche can challenge at least approach Franco’s performance at the plate (predicted edge to Franco at the moment).
        2. Whether the team can pick up a major and established stud power-hitting first baseman in FO or via trade.

        Should they land a power-hitting superstar first baseman (assuming one is even available), I think Franco becomes the bookend at 3rd and Asche becomes quality trade bait, something they’re short on with this club… IMVHO.

        But what happens to Howard and his skillion dollar salary to play 1B, you ask?
        I was afraid you’d ask that question.
        Okay, forget everything I just wrote.
        Put Franco at 3rd and make Asche the utility infielder spelling the old guys in the middle.
        Or try grooming the strong-armed Franco in right and put Ruf at first.
        Oh right – Howard again.
        Or make Howard GM and…
        Never mind.
        Back to my nap.

      • wbramh

        August 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        Based on the scouting reports suppliedup by Schmenkman, disregard what I said about Asche having a fielding edge over Franco at 3rd.
        I had read the opposite, not here but in someone’s professional column somewhere that Asche nosed out Franco based on range. That’s not what the scouting reports suggest at all.
        At least according to those year-old summaries (and they likely still hold water), Franco is clearly the superior defensive player at least at this stage of their development.
        Of course, Franco has no time and Asche very little time playing at the highest level so I’m sure management is not about to concede the position to either player.
        At least it’s nice to have an option next year other than suiting up Schmidt – or digging up Puddin’ Head.

      • schmenkman

        August 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm

        Glad you noted that they’re a year old, and I’ll add to that that some say Franco’s body type would not be ideal for third base long term — i.e. while Asche isn’t a great fielder and Franco may be better even now, in a matter of years he’d probably have to move to first anyway.

        That’s not to say that he couldn’t provide some team (if not the Phils) value at third in the meantime.

        Also, apparently he is far too slow for a corner outfield spot (as in Howard-like slow).

    • schmenkman

      August 27, 2013 at 11:26 am

      I’m sure there are lots of scouting reports out there, but these are the first two I found on them, from Baseball Prospect Nation, both from about a year ago:


      Ache’s defense: 30/40 on the 80 scale
      Franco’s defense: 50/60
      (first number is current, second is ceiling)

    • Ryne Duren

      August 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      Sorry Alex but you’re not the bearer of bad news! I know and as do you as you stated. He’s only 21 and there is no reason to rush him. I was only speculating as to why would they move him to first. And the reason as to why is because contrary to what you think, Franco is the one who is superior at third. He has a cannon for an arm for one, and his lateral range is better from what I’ve read. So with that said. As lame as the Phillies are that’s why I speculated. They don’t surprise me anymore with their dumbness specially roob the boob.
      Now as far as your comment about him in the outfield? Actually I’d like to see that! If he has as good an arm as everybody says then RF would be a good spot with Ruf in left and Brown in CTR. If Asche proves he’s good at third ( which to me he does) leave him there.
      I don’t even want to speculate about the call ups. But since Mini (like herpes) is in remission, there’s a good chance he’ll be back! unfortunately.

      • Hogey's Role

        August 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm

        I don’t think Brown is a center fielder, maybe as a fill in but not full time

  7. Jay Floyd

    August 27, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Ryne Duren makes a fine point, but I still am not convinced Franco will get the call in Sept. I’ve been surprised before, though, as, for a while, I didn’t think they’d promote him to Reading till around Aug 1st. I would still place my bet on no for Sept, if I had to.

    For Sept call ups, I see “Fleep” returning along with Lerud (or Rupp!). I also think it might be time to see Justin Friend and/or Jay Johnson for a few weeks (because when the hell else would the Phillies actually give Friend a shot?), although guys like Robles and Valdes will be considered as well. Galvis, Hernandez and Susdorf all good candidates as well. Nesseth’s a candidate for bullpen next summer…maybe he gets an earlier look.

    For a while, Dugan’s ceiling to me was Jason Michaels. Still might be around there, but he’s continued to improve his stroke since I made that assessment earlier in the year.

    • Ryne Duren

      August 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Thanks Jay. Like I said I don’t think they’ll bring him up, but I wonder cause they moved him to first a few days ago. It just triggered suspicion in my mind.
      I would like to see Rupp. can you imagine a line up with Ruf and Rupp? What a tongue twister after a few cold ones.

  8. Ryne Duren

    August 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Hogey I believe last year at LHV Sandberg had him playing center after totally screwing up in left and he actually did really well. In fact Sandberg said that Brown felt more comfortable in center than the two corners. My concern would be does he have the range needed.
    If I remember Brown was outright booed and he played so bad that Sandberg benched him. It was when I realized that Sandberg would be the right manager for this team going forward. I want a manager that when somebody no matter how much they get paid or how high they were drafted rides the pine if they don’t play like a major league ballplayer. And at his presser he basically said that he wants them to play and act as ML players cause they’re making good money. He can say that and get respect because he’s a Famer and got paid a lot and played hard and the right way.

    • Carlos Danger

      August 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      “He can say that and get respect because he’s a Famer and got paid a lot and played hard and the right way.”

      Although very few great players (let alone HOF players) went on to become great managers.

  9. Joe a

    August 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Does anyone else think the Reading Phightin Phils name is ridiculous? And who thought having an Ostrich as a logo was a good idea?

  10. BryceSucks

    August 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Tyson Gillies is a dog. Spell that! D-O-G. He is a manipulator who has used his hearing impairment to do so. Don’t believe me? Ask his coach from back in Canada!

    • schmenkman

      August 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Gillies’ coach said what, exactly? Is there a link?

  11. Cole

    August 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Severino Gonzalez??

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