The Phillies announced their September call-ups following their no-hitter of the Braves this afternoon, which most notably included the promotion of top prospect Maikel Franco from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Franco was ranked as the game’s No. 22 prospect Baseball America coming into the season, but he batted just .209 with five home runs and a .585 OPS through his first 78 games. However, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com noted in July, he saw a turnaround following a visit from former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. The 22-year-old hit .324 with 11 homers and a .922 OPS from July-August and wrapped up his season today by going 1-for-3 with a double.
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg recently told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that they won’t try Cody Asche in the outfield this month, so Franco figures to see part-time duty between third base and first base this month. He could make his major league debut tomorrow with left-hander Mike Minor on the hill for Atlanta.
Last night Bill talked about how different this past offseason was than the one before as far as free agents go. This year all the big guys signed well before spring training and, Yasiel Puig aside, there aren’t many significant players left out on the market. It’s sort of how the hot stove season is supposed to go.
Last year, of course, was crazy. The two biggest free agents — Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — didn’t sign until February. In fact, Harper didn’t officially sign with Philly until March 2. One year ago today, however — February 28, 2019 — was the day the news of the impeding signing broke.
Over at NBC Sports Philly, they put together a video talking to Harper, Scott Boras, Matt Klentak and others who put the massive deal together. It gives you a sense of how the moving parts move in the runup to the biggest contract in baseball history.
It also gives you a sense of how much trouble Harper might’ve had had he gone with the other team who was in the bidding for him at the last minute: the Giants. Specifically, he keeps calling them “San Fran,” and if you know anyone from the Bay Area, you know just how much they hate it when people say “San Fran.” Don’t do that, folks.
Anyway here — apart from the tendering of a $330 million contract — is how Bryce Harper became a Phillie: