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Philadelphia Phillies: What could be the cause of Maikel Franco’s struggles in 2016?

Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco. (Photo credit: David Zalubowski)

Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco. (Photo credit: David Zalubowski)


Last season, fans felt as though they had a promising star to look forward to in third baseman, Maikel Franco. Now, halfway through his second season, it seems Franco has been lost in the middle of the disaster that is the Philadelphia Phillies. One might want to ask the question of, what happen?

Franco got the call-up on May 15th of last season and in an 80 game span hit .280, with 14 home runs, and 50 RBIs. At times it looked as though he was a dominant force at the plate, one may recount his series against the New York Yankees in June where he hit 3 home runs and 10 RBIs. He then capped off that period by winning NL rookie of the month

These are all quality numbers from a rookie and everything seemed to be pointing up for the young star, but it seems as if he has hit a bit of a plateau in his second year.

Currently, Franco is batting a mere .239, with a .298 OBP, and only 37 RBIs. Although these numbers are not terrible by any means, for a player that was supposed to make a big jump they seem a bit underwhelming.

With all things considered, it seems there are two probabilities that could be the root to this lack luster season.

The first is the pitchers have figured him out. It happens every season, young players do extremely well in their first or second years and then fall off substantially because of the pitchers in the league being able to make adjustments. Just look at Bryce Harper’s fall off. He went from the NL MVP last season with a .330 average to batting only .252 this season. By no means does this imply that this is where these players careers will stay, it just means they need to get further adjusted.

The second possibility is the lack of help behind Franco in the line-up. The Phillies have one of the worst line-ups in the MLB in terms of producing runs and this can sometimes impact a young hitter. Without any help, Franco could be overcompensating feeling that he needs to do too much at the plate in order to help his team win.

It could be one of the two, or it could be a mixture of both that is holding the 23-year-old back. Whatever the issue, the Phillies should do their best to figure it out. Franco is this clubs third baseman of the future and if he continues to have problems, it could hinder his development of becoming the star that he is capable of being.

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