Phillies prospect Maikel Franco eyes major league job
A day after receiving the Paul Owens Award as the top minor league hitter in the Phillies' minor league system in 2013, third-base prospect Maikel Franco said he expects to compete for a major league job next spring.
"I definitely expect that," Franco said through an interpreter yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. "I'm going to come in working hard to gain a spot, for sure."
Franco, who turned 21 last month, hit .320 with a .926 OPS, 31 home runs and 103 RBI in 134 games between Class A Clearwater and Double A Reading this year. He'll likely be invited to major league camp next spring.
But with Cody Asche currently at third base and Ryan Howard expected to be healthy and playing first, there isn't an obvious place for Franco.
"I don't care what position I play," said Franco, who began taking reps at first base at the end of Reading's season.
Severino Gonzalez, who turns 21 later this month, was the pitching recipient of the Paul Owens Award after going 7-5 with a 2.00 ERA in a season that saw him quickly rise from extended spring to Low A Lakewood to Clearwater and then Reading, too.
"I'm very proud of what I've done," said Gonzalez, who struck out 119 while walking only 22 in 103 2/3 innings. "I just didn't want to walk anyone. I just kept throwing strikes, and that was what I was after."