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Franco making All-Star, NL ROY Award case

PHILADELPHIA -- Maikel Franco had 10 RBIs in two games this week against the Yankees, so when he went 0-for-4 with one strikeout in Wednesday's 10-2 loss at Yankee Stadium, it confused a few people.

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Franco went hitless? Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop the clock.

"He just missed some pitches," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said afterward, when asked if the Yanks made adjustments to Franco. "They might have stayed away from him a little bit, but he had some very good swings."

The fact that questions had been asked about a Phillies player going hitless because he usually does damage is a nice change of pace. The Phils enter Friday night's series opener against the Nationals and Max Scherzer averaging 3.22 runs per game, which would finish the season as the sixth-lowest average in Major League Baseball since 1972.

In that sense, Franco's play has been very refreshing.

Elias Sports Bureau says Franco became the first Phillies player to have back-to-back games with five or more RBIs since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920. Only two other rookies have had back-to-back games with five or more RBIs: Boston's Brian Daubach in 1999 and the Yankees' Robinson Cano in 2005.

Franco became the first player to accomplish the feat against the Yanks.

Franco is hitting .311 (46-for-148) with nine doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 29 RBIs and a .946 OPS in 38 games. Out of 253 players with at least 150 plate appearances, Franco is 22nd in batting average, sixth in slugging percentage (.588) and 11th in OPS.

Franco is averaging a home run every 14.80 at-bats, which ranks 11th. He is averaging an RBI every 5.10 at-bats, which also ranks 11th.

Franco is tied for second with Chicago's Kris Bryant among National League rookies in home runs (trailing the Dodgers' Joc Pederson, who has hit 19 long balls), despite 85 fewer at-bats. Franco's slugging percentage and OPS are best among rookies with 150 or more plate appearances. Pederson and Bryant are widely considered to be the front-runners for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

Franco's batting average among rookies is second only to Arizona's Yasmany Tomas (.328).

Could Franco make the NL All-Star team? It is a long shot. The NL has had 21 rookie position players make the All-Star team. None of those rookies had been called up to the big leagues any later than April 28.

Franco got promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on May 15. But a case can be made for his consideration. Of NL third basemen with 150 or more plate appearances, Franco's OPS is second only to Cincinnati's Todd Frazier (.981).

"I'm just in a great moment right now," Franco said. "I want to preserve the moment. I want to have fun."

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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