|Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.|
Let's hold on though- he's 21. When he hit his first homer of the year, during this home stand, he became the youngest player to homer for the franchise, in it's history. He played half a season in Clearwater and Reading, meaning he's progressed very fast. He's playing some first base, a new position. It's been cold yet. He's facing better breaking balls than he'd previously seen. In short, this isn't hard to figure out.
He also might be figuring it out. While he's hitting .172 on the season, in his last two games he's posted a .225, which is bad, but about 50 points better than his season. He's posted a below average .619 OPS, but that crushes a .487. Did I mention that he's 21?
People are going to beat on Maikel Franco if he doesn't crush AAA this season, I get that. Fans expect instant results from "star" prospects. That's compounded by the fact that fans really want him to be helping the Phillies now after last Summer's big numbers- especially when Cody Asche and Freddy Galvis look lost at the plate. The reality though is that if you look at his age, his fast progression through the system, and all the other factors, it's perfectly normal and okay if Franco is fairly average this Summer in Allentown. Obviously I'd like to see him get better as he goes, and raise that average a solid 100 points while hitting for power, but there's nothing to freak out about here. Give Maikel time, and prepare for good things down the road. Don't let events in Philadelphia screw up the timeline that a prospect should be on.