Analysis

Franco likely not returning in 2015; Brown’s time in Philly over?

maikel-franco-acbfe5b074b8992cAfter interim manager Pete Mackanin stated that there was a “real good chance” that Maikel Franco would return to the Phillies’ starting lineup before the end of the 2015 season, it now looks like there’s a real good chance that he won’t.

Before Wednesday’s game against the New York Mets, the rookie took swings for the first time since suffering the injury, and felt discomfort in his healing wrist, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Franco’s recovery process had been running smoothly before Wednesday. Over the last week, he had been fielding ground balls with no discomfort.

With this setback, however, the Phillies will likely hit the brakes on Franco’s return to the lineup in 2015, and shift their eyes to 2016. With just a month left in the season, Mackanin agrees that Franco’s promising rookie season will disappointingly come to a close.

“There’s going to come a point that he gets to where we’ll probably end up shutting him down,” Mackanin said Wednesday. “That doesn’t mean we will, but if another week goes by to where we get into the middle of September and he’s going to need rehab at-bats, I don’t see the point of playing him for the final week or 10 days of the season. I thought he might be back earlier than it seems he will be.”

If Franco does not return, he could get a chance to shake off any rust in the Dominican winter league before returning to the Phillies for spring training next February.

The 22-year-old has been out since taking a Jeremy Hellickson fastball to the wrist in Arizona on Aug. 11. The initial belief was that Franco’s injury wouldn’t warrant a stint on the disabled list, but further tests revealed a slight fracture which resulted in Franco being placed on the 15-day DL. Before going down with the injury, Franco was putting together an impressive rookie campaign. His .828 OPS and .490 slugging percentage led all qualifying major league rookies at the time of his injury. If his 2015 is over, Franco will finish with a .277 batting average to go along with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs.

Brown’s Phillies career over?:

domonic-brown-getty2Domonic Brown did not travel with the Phillies to Boston for this weekend’s series against the Red Sox. Instead, he was sent to Philadelphia to be evaluated for a concussion after taking a hard fall in Wednesday night’s 9-4 loss to the Mets.

According to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury, the potential concussion could spell the end for Brown’s career in Philadelphia.

“Major League Baseball has strict concussion protocols and Brown has history there,” Salisbury wrote in an article for CSNPhilly.com. “He missed 11 games with a concussion in the second half of the 2013 season. With just a month of the season left and his playing time already dwindling, Brown might have played his last game for the team that selected him in the 20th round of the 2006 draft.”

Brown suffered the injury while running for a Ruben Tejada fly ball to shallow right field. He missed the ball, and his momentum caused him to flip over the short wall down the right field-line. The play resulted in an inside-the-park home run for Tejada.

The 28-year-old has seen his playing time diminish in recent weeks due to his poor performance and the crowded state of the Phillies’ outfield. Since Aug. 1, Brown is hitting just .177 with a .600 OPS in 62 at-bats. Brown is arbitration eligible this off season, and the Phillies may elect to just cut ties with their former top prospect based off his lack of production. If Brown is forced to miss time due to a concussion, he wouldn’t have the time to prove that he can be a contributor beyond 2015 with just a month left in the season.

Brown has severely underachieved since a breakout 2013 season where he made his first All-Star team and finished with 27 home runs. Since returning to the club in early June, Brown has endured another down season, posting a slash line of just .228/.284/.349 in 189 at-bats.

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