Those questions are nice diversions from a season filled with few highlights. The rookie third baseman went 4-for-5 with two home runs, five RBIs and three runs scored in Monday night's 11-8 victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He hit a solo home run that landed a projected 402 feet away in the first inning, according to Statcast™, and a two-run home run that landed a projected 430 feet away in the sixth inning, as the Phillies set season highs in runs and hits (18).
"He's got everything you look for in a young player," Phillies right-hander Kevin Correia said. "He's got similarities to [Albert] Pujols with his mechanics. They're pretty amazing at this point of his career. I heard how good he was. He's showing it since I've been here, defensively and offensively. He's a guy, when you're on a team in this situation, that you look forward to the future."
"He knows how to play the game and he's showing it," Howard said.
Franco, who set career highs in hits, homers and RBIs in a game, is hitting .312 with eight doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 24 RBIs and a .928 OPS in 150 plate appearances.
There is no question he is the team's best position player. But has he entered the conversation for the All-Star Game? The NL has had 21 rookie position players make the All-Star team. Phillies outfielder Del Ennis and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper both made the latest debuts of those rookies, playing their first games of the season on April 28, 1946, and April 28, 2012, respectively.
Franco joined the Phillies on May 15, which means he has far fewer plate appearances than other candidates.
So it would take something extraordinary for Franco to make it. Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon figure to be the favorites to represent the Phillies, but there always is a chance they could be traded before the All-Star break.
If that would happen, maybe Franco jumps to the top. He does not have enough plate appearances to qualify, but if he did, he would rank second among NL third basemen in OPS. Only Cincinnati's Todd Frazier (.993) entered the night with a better mark than Franco.
"What have we got, 2 1/2 weeks?" Phillies manager Sandberg said about the All-Star break. "You never know. That's a possibility."