The Philadelphia Phillies have finally made a move with an eye towards the future, reportedly calling up top prospect Maikel Franco, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Enquirer. The recently turned 22-year-old Franco will become the club's youngest position player since Jimmy Rollins in 2000, and third youngest (behind Rollins and Scott Rolen) over the past 30 years.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic for just $100,000 in 2010, Franco quickly shot up the minor league ladder, emerging as the best prospect in a depleted Phillies system. Entering the season, Baseball America ranked Franco as the 17th best prospect in the game, while Baseball Prospectus was much more bearish, slotting him in at 52nd overall.
A rough start to the 2014 season caused Franco's stock to slip. By July, Baseball America had dropped Franco to 50th in their rankings, while MLB.com placed him at 57th. Despite his slow start, Franco was able to pull himself together over the latter part of the season, finishing with an especially strong last week of August that saw him hit .517/.533/1.103 and earn the top spot on Baseball America's final Prospect Hot Sheet of the year. Overall, he has hit .257/.298/.427 with 16 home runs and a 97 wRC+ in 132 games at Triple-A this season.
Per Gelb, Franco could receive his first big league start Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves and southpaw Mike Minor. He should see time at both first and third base over the final month of the season, seeing a number of starts against left-handers.