The long-awaited and highly anticipated season debut of Maikel Franco is finally here. The starting third baseman for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs has finally been recalled to the big leagues today and the fan base couldn’t be happier. There hasn’t been this much buzz around a Phillies game since the return of Mike Trout last year, when the Phillies hosted the Los Angeles Angels.
“This was a baseball decision based on Maikel’s development and performance… We believe he is ready for the next step.” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement released by the team.
The last time that this team got a glimpse of Franco in a Phillies uniform was last year during September call-ups. In 16 games, he had 10 hits, 2 doubles, and 5 RBI’s, not really a huge sample size to really make an accurate judgment yet.
Franco is mostly known for his power at the plate and his excellent defense at third base. He has put up some flashy numbers in the minors this year, which is the reason everyone in Philadelphia is so excited to see him play at Citizens Bank Park. The 22-year-old third baseman is expected to start tonight as the Phillies take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chad Billingsley is set to face Chase Anderson; first pitch is at 7:05 PM.
This city hasn’t seen a home-grown position player star since the core three of Rollins/Utley/Howard. Hopefully, Franco turns out to have a promising career here in South Philadelphia and becomes a core piece to a winning team for years to come.