The Phillies rank dead last in MLB with only 36 home runs, but the club has managed to homer nine times in their last seven games. Maikel Franco has been a big reason for that, hitting four home runs in his last six games, giving him six on the season.
After yesterday’s 2-4 effort with a solo shot, the 22-year-old has 10 hits in his last 25 at-bats (.400 BA) with four home runs and eight RBIs. His slugging percentage over that stretch is 1.000, while his OPS is 1.400.
Needless to say, Franco has found his home run stroke and has provided the Phillies with power from the right-side of the plate; something the club has been severely lacking in recent years.
Since the departure of Jayson Werth back in 2010, the Phillies have experimented with a number of right-handed power bats. Hunter Pence in 2011-2012 hit 28 home runs during his 155 games played with the Phillies, while Delmon Young hit only eight over 80 games in 2013. The most recent right-handed power-bat the Phillies have had is Marlon Byrd, who hit 25 home runs as the everyday right fielder for the Phillies last season, and currently has 10 for the Reds this season.
Now the Phillies have Franco, a guy who the team hopes can be the long-term solution to their right-handed power woes. The former prospect showed signs of power during his years in the Minors, as he hit 70 total home runs, highlighted by a 31 home run season between Single-A and Double-A back in 2013.
While hitting four homers in six games is impressive, Franco has also shown a flare for the dramatic while doing so. He hit game-tying home runs in consecutive games against the Cincinnati Reds, including a three-run blast off Aroldis Chapman to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th, which eventually led to a Phillies win in extra-innings. His home run off Tim Lincecum in last Friday’s game against the Giants tied the game at four, and his solo shot in yesterday’s contest gave the Phillies’ bullpen a three-run cushion in the 8th inning.
Those who have watched Franco’s home runs can agree that they have been bombs, especially yesterday’s 434-foot blast off Jeremy Affeldt, but according to ESPN Home Run Tracker, Franco’s home runs have traveled an average distance of 405 feet.
Seeing Franco’s recent power surge is a great sign for a Phillies ballclub that has ranked outside the top 20 in home runs the past two seasons. Hopefully Franco can be the right-handed power the bat the Phillies have been missing, and can continue to hit 400-foot bombs for years to come.