Who could argue with the results of last season? Franco hit .320/.356/.569 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs in 134 games split between Single-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. It wasn't even like he did his damage exclusively against Single-A talent as Franco hit .339/.363/.563 with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs in 69 games for Reading.
This year has not been as successful. A simply look at Franco's line and it is clear the 21-year-old is struggling at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Franco is batting .230/.285/.364 with six home runs and 42 RBIs in 87 games for the Iron Pigs.
Franco's struggles came to a head on June 29th when he went 0-for-5 against the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. By that point in the season, Franco was batting .209/.267/.318 with five home runs and 31 RBIs in 78 games at Triple-A.
It was at that point in the season Iron Pigs manager Dave Brundage, along with hitting coach Sal Rende, sat Franco for a couple days for the youngster to clear his head. CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury reports Franco took some time to relax and get his heard straight but also had a visit from a familiar face, former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Manuel was reportedly in Lehigh Valley for four days and worked with Franco's stride and with his hands. The former Phillies skipper also instilled some confidence back into Franco by reiterating that Franco is a good hitter.
Whatever Manuel said worked. Since Franco's brief hiatus he has been white-hot batting .390/.419/.707 with one home run, two triples, six doubles and 11 RBIs to go along with four runs scored in the nine-game span. Franco's OPS has ballooned to 1.126 since July 2nd and he is boasting an impressive .429 BABIP (batting average on balls in play).
Hopefully the Phillies prospect can continue his impressive hitting performances as the organization is certainly looking for a ray of sunshine at this point in the season.
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