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Franco making strong case for NL ROY

Statcast projects Phillies 3B's latest HR at 455 feet

PHOENIX -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco continues to make a strong case for National League Rookie of the Year.

Home runs like the one he crushed in Monday night's 13-3 loss to Arizona at Chase Field should get a few more people to notice him. He ripped an 0-1 slider from D-backs right-hander Rubby De La Rosa in the sixth inning a projected 455 feet to center field, according to Statcast™. It left his bat at a scorching 107 mph.

"It had a good sound to it," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said.

"I mean, yeah," Franco said, asked if it was one of the hardest hit balls of his career. "I just used my hands and stayed through the middle, try to use the whole field, and I put a good swing on that."

Franco is not getting the attention of NL rookies like Matt Duffy, Joc Pederson and Kris Bryant, but he is worthy of comparisons. Franco does not officially rank among NL rookies in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage or OPS, but that is only because he did not join the Phillies until May 15. He is 25 plate appearances short of the 350 plate appearances he needs to qualify among them.

But Franco would have the highest OPS (.828) and slugging percentage (.490) among NL rookies, if he qualified. He also entered Monday second in doubles (21), fourth in home runs (12), third in RBIs (47) and tied for fourth in walks (25) and extra-base hits (34).

"It's not on my mind right now," Franco said of a potential Rookie of the Year candidacy. "I just try to come in and do my job and try to do the best I can to have a good game and help my teammates."

But that doesn't mean he isn't following other NL rookies, either.

"I mean, yeah, because most of the time I watch TV, I see what they're doing," he said. "But for me, just be happy for everybody, try to have a good game, a good season. Whatever happens, I'll take it."

ESPN said Franco's home run was the longest by a Phillies player since 2012, when Jim Thome hit one over the batter's eye at Target Field in Minneapolis.

"I remember that home run," Mackanin said. "That was a bomb."

Franco's was nearly as impressive. And it could get a few more people talking about him, too.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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