Top 10 fantasy baseball prospects

Analyzing Maikel Franco's long-term value; new player takes over at No. 1

Updated: May 14, 2014, 2:21 PM ET
By Christopher Crawford | ESPN Insider

Coming into the season, Philadelphia Phillies prospect Maikel Franco was considered one of the few prospects who had yet to make their big league debut but had a chance to make their respective teams coming out of spring training, thanks to putting up huge offensive numbers for both high Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. However, those hopes quickly dimmed after Franco struggled in spring training, and Franco was sent down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley with expectations that he would devour pitching at that level like he had at the previous stops.

Unfortunately, Franco's first month in Triple-A could be described as somewhat of a disaster. The right-handed-hitting third baseman posted a .172/.234/.253 line in April, with just one home run and 18 strikeouts over the 23 games. His BABIP was only .206 -- well below average in any league -- but the lack of success had many wondering if the 21-year-old was closer to a demotion to Double-A than he was to a promotion to Philadelphia.

[+] EnlargeMaikel Franco
Cliff Welch/Icon SMIMaikel Franco's long-term future at third base is hazy, but he could find his way into the Phillies' lineup later this season.

"He looked like a guy who was pressing," an NL West scout said. "I saw him for six games in the middle of the month, and I just got the feeling he was a guy that was trying to do too much. The bat speed was there, but bat speed only can do so much when your approach is poor and you aren't putting yourself into a position to succeed."

While it's a small sample size, May has been much kinder to Franco, as he's already had five multihit games and his .333/.395/.564 line for the month is much closer to what we saw in 2013 as compared to his wretched April. On top of hitting for the expected power, Franco has also shown more patience at the plate, walking in five of his past seven games.

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