Opinion

Phillies would be better right now with Maikel Franco starting every day



PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 13: Philadelphia Phillies Infield Maikel Franco (7) throws to first in the third inning during the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies on May 13, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Things have been going pretty badly for the Philadelphia Phillies over the last three weeks. And it now appears that one former starting position player, third baseman Maikel Franco, may be in the proccess of being given up on by the manager.

Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler had two lineup cards to fill out on Wednesday as his club was set to play a day-night doubleheader against the Washington Nationals. In the first, Kapler named Scott Kingery as the starting third baseman. In the lineup announced for the nightcap, newcomer Brad Miller is scheduled to man the hot corner.

When Kapler needed bats off the bench to pinch-hit in that opening 6-2 defeat at the hands of the host Nationals, he went to Miller and the repeatedly ineffective Andrew Knapp.

Franco certainly hasn’t helped his case with the bat this season. the 26-year-old hasn’t produced a multi-hit game since May 13, and has just two home runs since April 26. However, Franco is also the third-best defensive third baseman in the National League, eighth-best in baseball, so far this season according to Fangraphs.

Is keeping Franco out of the lineup the best move to give the  Phillies a chance to win baseball games these days?

In Kingery, the Phillies have a player who won a minor league Gold Glove Award for his play at second base just two years ago. Over the last 14 games covering his own last 67 plate appearances entering today, second baseman Cesar Hernandez was slashing at just the .115/.179/.213 mark.

Would the Phillies be better off with Kingery at second and Franco at third on an everyday basis, rather than Hernandez at second and Kingery and others juggling the hot corner? Would the defense become more consistent? Better overall? Would that help win some ball games?

Franco has always been a streaky hitter. From Opening Day through April 27 covering the entire first month of this season, Franco was slashing .271/.360/.542 with seven homers among a dozen extra-base hits with 22 RBIs. Everyone was bestowing “the best #8 hitter in baseball” title on him. If he were playing every day, Franco would likely have another streak similar to that one at some point.

The question as to what to do with center field is a legitimate one. Roman Quinn is back from his latest stay on the Injured List. He is clearly the best defensive center fielder available to the team right now. But how long would Quinn remain healthy if playing every day, given his consistent injury history?

For me, defense matters. And also, you play your best team available at the time. You worry about injuries when (if) they occur. I play Kingery at second base, Franco at third base, and Quinn in center field every day. Meanwhile, I do my best to find a more veteran center field option.

I fully understand that Hernandez has his “fan club” among a certain segment of the fan base. That is fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. This is mine.

The only opinions that matter belong to Kapler and Matt Klentak. We’re seeing their choices, and they simply aren’t working. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Phanatic

    June 19, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’

    Mr. Veasey’s solution: play Maikel Franco at 3B.

    Oh, the irony.

    GO NATS!!!

  2. Phanatic

    June 19, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I hate to break this news to you but Maikel Franco is DONE. By July 31st he will be DFA’d out of here.

    I will go along with you that Franco should come in the game in the 9th to play defense at 3rd but that is as far as I’ll go.

  3. Brian Brown

    June 19, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    I’ve given up on Kapler…maybe that’s who the Phillies need to move on from!

    Players need to get into a rhythm. Playing once in awhile and expecting results is insane!

    The entire team is struggling hitting, yet only a handful of players are made examples of!

    Just watched Rhys strike out for the 10th time off of Max Schezer out of 15 career at bats. Why not bench him for under preforming?
    Treat them equally.

    It’s time the Gabe experiment ends. Let’s salvage the season!

    • Phanatic

      June 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      I was thinking the same thing Brown.

      Franco gets benched, Williams gets demoted, Altherr get DFA’d, Pivetta gets sent down, VV and Eickhoff get banished to the BP but there are plenty of underperformers who play every day like Harper and Hernandez and Hoskins. Why do these guys stink it up and still play while the other players face consequences. I still don’t think Franco should be on this roster but I do agree there seems to be uneven treatment of underperformers.

  4. Brian Brown

    June 19, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve given up on Kapler…maybe that’s who the Phillies need to move on from!

    Players need to get into a rhythm. Playing once in awhile and expecting results is insane!

    The entire team is struggling hitting, yet only a handful of players are made examples of!

    Just watched Rhys strike out for the 10th time off of Max Scherzer out of 15 career at bats. Why not bench him for under preforming?
    Treat them equally.

    It’s time the Gabe experiment ends. Let’s salvage the season!

  5. Brian Brown

    June 19, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Phillies need to give up on Kapler.

    Players need rhythm, how do they get it in musical lineups.

    FIRE GABE!

  6. Craig Glessner

    June 19, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Advice from the witless thank you Phanatic. Matt is absolutely right, maybe instead of giving up on Franco the Phillies need to give up on the guy making the lineup and take the hitting coach with him. Anybody who believes Hernandez is better than Franco offensively or defensively should switch to soccer

    • Greg

      June 20, 2019 at 9:49 am

      You have a point. At the end of MacKanin’s run, Phils optimism was based on the core of Hoskins, Herrera, Hernandez, Altherr, Williams, Alfaro and patience was running out on Franco. I would say that every single one of those hitters has significantly- to massively-regressed since then. I don’t think Hoskins is where we all hoped he would be, though he is certainly still productive. Is it over-stressing OBP over hitting? Seemed to be the case with Kingery. Santana played better outside of Philly. Harper, Segura, and Realmuto all seem to be producing less that last year, their stats were supposed to go UP with ballpark factor. Only McCutchen has hit up to expectations, and now he’s gone. I’m sensing a trend, what gives?

  7. Phanatic

    June 19, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Glessner it is only Wednesday. Easy on the bottle.

  8. Flemming Hill

    June 19, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Fire Gabe instead!

    clueless!

  9. Fleming Hill

    June 19, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Fire Gabe instead!

    Franco has won more games for the Phillies this season than Gabe has in a season and third!

  10. Aaron Altherr

    June 19, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    So glad this miserable, unlikable team continues to lose.

    Go Nats and go Braves!!!

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