Maikel Franco hit for the cycle at Triple-A

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Phillies third base prospect Maikel Franco hit for the cycle in his first four at-bats in tonight’s home game against the Syracuse Chiefs. Franco doubled in the first inning, tripled in the third, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo home run to center field to complete the cycle.

Franco, 21, was a consensus top-100 prospect entering the 2014 season and represented the Phillies at the 2014 Futures Game at Target Field in Minnesota in July. He struggled to begin the season, but has hit well since the start of July. In his last 190 plate appearances, Franco has hit eight home runs, knocked in 37 runs, and posted a .306/.323/.572 slash line.

The Phillies are likely to bring Franco up at some point in September after rosters expand. He’ll compete with Cody Asche for the starting job at third base in March.

Who is the fastest sprinter in baseball?

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We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.

StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.

Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.

That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.

Here are the final All-Star voting results before the close of balloting

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All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.

Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AMERICAN LEAGUE