I prefer to give players more time to play before throwing superlatives at them, but the Phillies are hurling some major expectations at Maikel Franco after a month or so in the Majors. If I were running the Phillies organization, I would have made sure that people in the organization wouldn’t be mentioning Franco is the same breath as Albert Pujols.
I know there’s not much exciting to talk about regarding the Phillies in the near future, except for the rookie third baseman. The young, power hitter has created a stir in Major League baseball when he put together back-to-back five RBI games at Yankee Stadium. He’s been on a tear throughout the month of June and pounded out three RBI’s last night in a 8-5 win over the Washington Nationals in the second game of a doubleheader .
He has a presence in the batter’s box which we generally don’t see a lot of from players coming up from the minor leagues,” Schmidt told Philly.com’s Dick Jerardi. “He’s tough in the batter’s box. Last couple of days, he’s struggling a little bit after the big series in New York . . . He can feel that he’s jumping out at the ball a little bit. I know all about that, did it my whole career.
“You saw how wide his stance was [Saturday]. That’s a great thing to see that a kid can feel things, he can sense when he’s a little out of whack. Other than him, I don’t see a lot of our young hitters visibly making changes on the fly in the batter’s box.”
Schmidt approves of the youngster as a hitter and as an infielder.
Phillies starting pitcher Kevin Correia went even further, than just approving of Franco. He compared him to one of the best hitters in the history of the game, future Hall of Famer, Albert Pujols.
“He’s got similarities to Pujols with his mechanics,” the 13-year major-league pitcher mentioned when asked his early impressions of the Phillies’ rookie third baseman. Correia obviously had not seen the Yankees’ broadcast.
“Obviously, they’re both kind of similar in build. But it’s more, I think, the approach as far as they really let the ball travel and keep their hands close to their body,” Correia said a day later when asked to expand on the comparison.
“[Franco] can hit the ball to all fields with all power. You see him [when] he gets a pitch away, he hits a ball the other way, gets a base hit [and] scores a couple runs. He had a home run with two strikes where he kind of shortened up and hit it out, and then 3-0 he hit a good pitch where he was able to get big on it and really hit it far. It’s just similar to Pujols’ approach, I think.”
Franco is “willing to go where the pitch is thrown, and there’s not a lot of guys who can do that with that much power,” Correia said. “He doesn’t have to consume his approach with trying to hit home runs.
“I think similar to Pujols, they’re just up there with a good approach and trying to hit the ball hard, and it results in a lot of home runs. So, it’s a little different talent than most home run hitters you see, where that’s what they’re trying to do.”