With Cody Asche placed on the DL with a left hamstring strain and the Philadelphia Phillies being shut out in half of their last 10 home games, the temptation is ripe to bring up power hitting prospect Maikel Franco from triple-A to take his place at third base. That temptation should be avoided at all costs.
Franco is just not ready, as evidenced by his .235 average through nearly two months of work for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He has notoriously been a slow starter and fast finisher at each of his minor-league stops, so he should be left down there to build up his confidence before making the huge jump to the majors.
A Franco coming off three dynamite minor league seasons next year could set himself up for a ROY run in 2015, while a Franco who has been rushed before his time could have his confidence shattered and end up being the second coming of Domonic Brown.
Even if Asche were to miss a month, though, there are signs that Cesar Hernandez would be a capable replacement. Hernandez is hitting only .167 now for the Phillies, but it’s a small sample and he’s a proven .300 hitter over the last two years in double-A and triple-A ball. He won’t supply the power Franco might, but the Phillies should think long-term, not short-term, with this move.
Where are the Phillies headed this season anyway? It’s become apparent to almost everyone that this team cannot put the pieces together to contend and is led by a largely disinterested and uninspired veteran corps. The future is the most important thing to protect right now, and elevating Franco to do a job Hernandez can hold down for now would be unwise.
Franco’s first appearance in a Phillies uniform should be as a September call-up after tearing up triple-A.