The Royals needed someone to cover third that could provide a consistent bat. In one of their few offseason pickups, they were able to get just that.
The signing of Maikel Franco during last year’s offseason was a bit strange. Hunter Dozier was serviceable at third for the KC Royals. He wasn’t the best defensively, but he was good with his bat, a tradeoff that might be worth it.
The Royals, though, obviously had other plans. A move for Dozier to the outfield was set and Maikel Franco would take over at third base. He was definitely not a defensive upgrade looking at his previous seasons, and while he could help offensively, there was concern about any sustained success.
Luckily, Franco put any concerns to rest and did help the Royal with what they needed, adding another consistent bat. The Royals were able to move Dozier to the outfield to keep his bat in the lineup, while not displacing any top-notch bat, and add in another decent hitter at third.
Franco struggled at times during the season and had some opportunities where he fell short, but so did just about everyone in the Royals lineup in 2020. Clutch hitting was non-existent and the offense as a whole struggled. Franco did his part, though, leading the team in both doubles (16) and RBIs (38) while adding 8 home runs as well, finishing the season with a slash of .278/.321/.457.
Franco started the season slowly as far as average goes, but as the season progressed, so did his consistency at the plate. This can be seen through his monthly breakdown.
In July, Franco slashed .250/.242/.531. The slugging is nice, but if he was going to be able to do what the Royals needed, he needed to stop up his average and on-base percentage.
Come August, Franco started to see a bit of a turnaround. While it wasn’t much, a small uptick in BA and OPB provided some hope and he slashed .255/.311/.459 for the month of August.
Then, came September. Now, the Royals always seem to play better in September, especially when they are out of the postseason race. While this year was a bit different, Franco must have gotten the memo about the month.
For September, Franco slashed .312/.356/.430, his worst slugging month of the season, but a BA and OBP that could back it up.
Franco wasn’t the only piece to the puzzle the Royals needed, but he was a good piece to start with. It will be interesting to see how the Royals handle him over the offseason and if he gets a longer contract offered from the organization.
Either way, Franco did exactly what was needed. He took over at third and while he struggled to start defensively, his fielding got better as the season progressed and he could be counted on to make plays when needed.
He also improved his offense. Franco had shown his power in previous seasons, but with the Royals, he showed he could do it again. His month by month breakdown shows continued progress throughout the season, and a consistent bat, something the Royals need to keep around.
Franco’s signing may have been curious, but in the end, it was a good move by the Royals.
Maikel Franco was expected to take over third and provide decent at-bats. While there were moments of struggle, Franco’s season breakdown shows he was consistent from month to month and could remain a big piece of the Royal’s future lineup.