Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco has had a dismal season. Though his 2016 campaign wasn’t anything special, he hit 25 home runs and hit 88 RBI, showing enough promise that he could eventually become the Phillies’ third baseman of the future. This season, though, he’s skidding to a .209/.268/.349 batting line with only six home runs and 28 RBI in 190 plate appearances.
Franco looked so out of sorts at the plate that manager Pete Mackanin benched him for a couple of games during the team’s recent series against the Rockies. He’s once again not in the lineup for Tuesday’s game, though that’s apparently due to an illness.
Per CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, Mackanin said that the idea of demoting Franco to Triple-A Lehigh Valley has been discussed. He still has options, so that call is entirely up to the team.
Franco isn’t the only Phillie struggling mightily at the plate. 2016 All-Star Odubel Herrera has a .592 OPS. Freddy Galvis has a .681 OPS, and Michael Saunders is at .673. That helps explain why the Phillies have baseball’s worst record at 17-32.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.