Subscribe to our newsletter

Counterpoint: Maikel Franco – Here’s Why

Maikel Franco finishes his swing
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Reading Time: 2 minutes

This morning at ESR, Danny Majerowicz wrote a terrific breakdown of the potential downside for the Orioles when it comes to signing Maikel Franco. The thoughtful and researched conclusion that a defensive downgrade at third base could have potential negative effects on the development of Baltimore’s young pitching staff is one I agree with. I only hope to offer a quick alternative perspective, if for nothing but the sake of optimism.

While Danny recognizes the potential offensive upgrades Franco holds over Rio Ruiz, I believe he dismisses them too easily. He cites Ruiz’s higher exit velocity (87.9 to Franco’s 86.7) and barrel rate (8.5% to Franco’s 5.8%) as signals that the two may not be all that dissimilar offensively this upcoming season. This is where I start to disagree.

If we’re going to weight the fact that Ruiz makes better contact over a smaller sample size (using barrel rate) then we have to equally weight the fact that he strikes out more over a smaller sample size as well. Ruiz’s K% (22.5) in 2020 is almost a full seven percent higher than is Franco’s (15.6). We then have to consider the fact that in 2020 Franco also bested Ruiz in wOBA (.329 to .303) and in wRC+ (106 to 90).  

These numbers are not insignificant. Weighted On Base Average (wOBA) and Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) are two of the most effective metrics we have in measuring offensive value. Even while conceding that Ruiz makes better contact (not accounting for hard hit rate) he still gets on base significantly less than Franco, strikes out more, and created fewer potential runs than the average MLB player by 10 points, where Franco was above the average player by six.

As Danny noted, the potential downside of this signing is in fact a defensive liability that eats into precious development of a young pitching staff. But another pitfall to consider is a lack of offensive production. Run support can be equally critical to the overall well being of a young staff’s development.

Hopefully both Rio Ruiz and Maikel Franco each seize their opportunities to contribute effectively to every facet of the game. Mike Elias’ reasoning behind this signing may not be as obvious on the surface as others, but I have to believe that it flows along the same underlying current.

Colton Cowser spring training 2022
Down on the Farm

Big Name Baby Birds Fall into Slumps

While the Major League Orioles are hot right now, the minors continue to play on, and specific prospects find success, while others are not so …

Read More →
Jorge Mateo home run chain
News and Analysis

Your Baltimore Orioles are Suddenly Very Fun

Don’t look now, but something funny seems to have happened on the 2022 Baltimore Orioles’ road to 100 losses in their latest effort to be …

Read More →
News and Analysis

A Look Back at Some of the Best World Series Winners

Image Source: Josh Appel The New York Mets became the first team to register 20 regular season wins this season after they saw off the …

Read More →
John Rhodes Sarasota
Down on the Farm

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in the Birds’ Minors

The Orioles’ minor leagues are continuing to trek through the early weeks of May, and they have already given fans great excitement. With how good …

Read More →
Down on the Farm

The Time is Now to Support Your Shorebirds!

Finding your footing at work can be tough sometimes. There’s little else more humanizing than being the new person and treading water while struggling to …

Read More →
Sarasota update
Down on the Farm

Development is Complex, Not Linear

An Update from Sarasota… Watching the Orioles extended Spring Training, I’ve been able to see lots of players & storylines emerge. Here’s a chance to …

Read More →
Get notified of the Latest Sport News Update from Our Blog
Latest posts
Join our newsletter and get 20% discount
Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue