As we move toward the 2016 season, let us take a look at each player on the roster and what a reasonably successful season would look like. We started with Aaron Nola.
PlayerName: Maikel Franco
Age: Will be 24 in August
Experience: 96 games
What we saw in 2015
Before an injury in early August, we saw a lot of good things from Maikel Franco. He looked strong in a brief return before the season ended.
Let's talk about defense first. The kid can make some fine plays in the field. He's got a nice arm, too. Sabremtrically, he didn't grade out that well. But it's worth giving him the benefit of the doubt there. A lot of people seem to think he'll eventually move to first base, but I think we'll see him spend more time at third.
The bat, though, is where fans had to be extremely excited. In half a season, Franco hit 14 homers and slapped 22 doubles. That led to 50 runs batted in and 45 runs scored, off a .280/.340/.497 batting line.
He ended up with a 1.7 WAR. He got an extra-base hit in 11 percent of his at-bats and 12 percent of his fly balls ended up as home runs.
Important goals for 2016150 games played: You always want a full season from your best offensive player, which Franco no doubt is right now. It's particularly important after having a season in which he missed more than a month to an injury.
Extra-base hits: With his bat speed and plate coverage, Franco should be an extra-base hit machine. He's probably not a guy who is going to hit 35 or more homers in a season, but he's a guy who could pop 65-plus extra-base hits in a year. Even if he doesn't hit 25 homers this year, a 22 homer, 41 double, 2 triple season is not out of the question.
On-Base Percentage: With a .329 on-base percentage over parts of 6 minor league seasons, Franco isn't likely to develop into a .380 on-base machine. That's OK. But, in a lineup without much surrounding him, he could be in trouble. If no one protects him and he has a quick start, he's going to get pitched around. It will be up to him to adjust. If he ends the season with a .330 on-base percentage that's pretty good. If he's above .345, the Phillies will probably have gotten some good production out of No. 7.
AnalysisFranco is exciting. Hopefully, the Phillies have an All-Star on their hands. Philly fans are demanding. I worry they might be expecting too much from him; that he's a future Chase Utley. I'm not sold on that. But he's a player they can build around. If he finishes the year with a .265/.325/.450 batting line, people will be depressed. Jabronies might even call it a step backward. It wouldn't be. It would be a nice step forward.
Sure, I'd like more. But with this group, we should be patient in 2016.