Maikel Franco Caps Monster Minor League Year by Taking Home Philadelphia Phillies' Top Prospect Award

By Mike Gibson
Paul Owens Award Winners
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Owens was one of the few general managers who actually put away the suit and tie and went down on the field and in the clubhouse as a manager to fix the Philadelphia Phillies. The result of that was changes that led to a World Series Championship in 1980.

While Owens passed away in 2003, his name lives on in one of the really cool awards the organization gives every year, the Paul Owens Award for best minor-league player. If you want a glimpse into the future, take a look at the two Paul Owens’ winners every season. Last year’s winners were Darin Ruf and Tyler Cloyd (pictured above).

The future is bright indeed for at least one of this year’s winners. Maikel Franco had an absolutely incredible year at two levels of the minor leagues. He finished with a .320 batting average, 31 homers, 103 RBI and 36 doubles in time almost evenly split between Class-A Clearwater and Class-AA Reading. He played mostly third, but the Phillies have tried to give him some work at first base because he might be blocked at that position by another prospect, Cody Asche. Franco, 21, also led all of minor-league baseball with 308 total bases.

Some of the past player award-winners have included  Freddy Galvis (2011) and  Domonic Brown (2010). Going back further, Michael Bourn (2006), Ryan Howard (2003 and 2004) and Chase Utley (2002) were past winners.

The Paul Owens Award for Best Pitcher Goes to Severino Gonzalez who went 7-5 with a 2.00 combined ERA between Clearwater, Lakewood and Reading. He’s got a very live fastball as evidenced by his 119 strikeouts in 103.2 total innings.

While Gonzalez might be a couple of years away, do not be surprised if Franco earns his way into a starting spot on the major-league team soon. The impotent Phillies lineup needs his bat.

Mike Gibson is a Phillies writer for Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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