Maikel Franco finally shows promise for KC Royals
By Shawn Bauman
While spring training is time to work out the kinks, seeing offense from the main KC Royals free-agent signing is a sigh of relief.
Many questions were raised when Maikel Franco inked a one-year contract with the KC Royals this offseason. Many of us saw this as a Dayton Moore move to acquire a promising younger player by flipping him if he had a rebound year. On the surface, not a bad move but it really shook up the team’s defense and possibly stunted a prospect getting a chance at the big league level.
If Franco has a great year and the Royals do not trade him there is probably little chance we can resign him for a long-term contract with a bigger salary. The one way this could make sense is if the plan is to keep Hunter Dozier in the outfield and give Kelvin Gutierrez more seasoning at Triple-A before placing him at third base on the major league roster.
Obviously Franco’s performance will be looked at closely by Kansas City fans and teams who may need a power bat at third base to make a playoff run. In his first six spring training contests, he only collected three hits in sixteen at-bats for a .187 average.
On Tuesday night though, Franco flashed power the team had been looking for. He went three-for-three driving in his first four runs of the season and clubbing his first home run. The blast came off Hector Rondon who has been a solid reliever in the majors since 2013.
During the same game, Ryan O’Hearn hit an opposite-field double that just missed clearing the fence and Ryan McBroom went yard for the second time this spring. It was a nice display of power the Royals need from people outside Dozier and Jorge Soler.
Franco has still not drawn a walk this spring and getting on base has never been a strong suit, thus the power needs to be there to justify having him in the middle of the lineup. Hopefully, that game is a sign he is starting to see the ball well and will be a positive addition to the lineup. If not, the shuffling of players in the field, lineup, and who makes the big league roster will be hard to swallow.