On Wednesday the 2013 MLB Futures Game rosters was announced. The Phillies had the maximum number of players allowed per team, two. The players chosen to represent the Phillies are former first round pick Jesse Biddle, and 20 year old Dominican third basemen Maikel Franco. While each team is only allowed to have two prospects represent them, these two players were likely the only two players that would have been chosen had the 2 player maximum rule not been in place.
Biddle, a 2010 first round pick, pitched right in the Phillies back yard at Germantown Friends High School. A quick sign, mainly because of the fact that he grew up a Phillies fan, has led him to be somewhat fast tracked to AA Reading. The 21 year old left hander has spent the entire season as the Fightins ace with a 3.21 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 81.1 innings of work. His 91 strikeouts currently lead the Eastern League.
Franco has been the Phillies breakout prospect this year. The 20 year old third basemen started this season out on a very good Clearwater team, and showed off his raw power in a big way, hitting 16 home runs before getting the call up to AA. Most of the time prospects have trouble adjusting to the pitching of AA, as it can be much better than what they faced at High A, but not for Franco. Upon arrival in Reading Franco has smacked 3 more homer uns for a season total of 19. His 58 RBI are currently good for first place in the organization.
Franco is a prospect you get excited about. He, albeit in a VERY short span, is dominating AA pitching showing absolutely no signs of growing pains. While it looked like fellow Phillies third base prospect Cody Asche could finally be the Phils long term answer to the hot corner he is looking more and more like a stop gap until Franco is ready to come up to the majors.
Earlier this week Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweeted that one scout told him Franco had the best impact bat he had seen in the minors all year. While the Phillies system is pretty bleak right now, Franco is one to watch.
The futures game will be held July 14th at Citi Field in New York.