Top Prospect #23: RHP Martire Franco

Top Prospect #23: RHP Martire Franco

So, when you age three years literally overnight, do your friends owe you three birthday presents? Maybe Martire Franco could answer that question because that very thing happened to him. With scrutiny over birth certificates and immigration records after the 9-11 attacks, Franco was found to be three years older than he originally was listed by the Phillies. Of course, Franco wasn't the only one that aged quickly, but for him, it was at a critical time.

Martire Franco was always thought of as a prospect, but with the added years, he is quickly running out of time. Not just to progress to the majors, but to show that his maturity could catch up to his now advanced age. Franco had many of the trappings of youth that prevented him from getting the most out of his talent. Many times, Franco had ignored his coaches and figured that he knew what was best. It wasn't paying off, but many young players need to learn that lesson.

The main thing that coaches were trying to impress on Franco was that it's not all about power. Franco never seemed to get it until he was pitching at AA Reading in 2003. Suddenly, Franco was all about getting hitters out with whatever worked best. Franco became more of a groundball pitcher and less of a strikeout pitcher, which is working well for the 25 year-old right-hander.

Franco started strong in 2003, but quickly fell back into some bad habits. By the end of the season, Franco's season was again filled with inconsistency. He started 13 of the 28 games that he pitched and finished 4-7, 5.71 at AA Reading.

Had Franco not aged three years, there would be very little concern about his progress. He would be a young pitcher who just needed more work to break his bad habits. Since Franco will turn 26 prior to the 2004 season, time is starting to slip away. If Franco doesn't pick up the pace and find a consistent way to get hitters out, he will quickly fall by the wayside. The Phillies will keep Franco at AA Reading, giving him a chance to build on what he learned last season.

 

Year – Team

W

L

ERA

SV

G

GS

  IP

H

BB

K

1998 – Dominican

2

3

3.14

 0

14

  2

  28.2

  19

  7

29

1999 – Dominican

0

2

1.50

 5

23

  0

  24

  18

  3

31

2000 – Piedmont

6

4

4.13

 0

24

23

126.1

146

57

89

2001 – Clearwater

8

4

4.13

 0

26

24

161.1

178

41

97

2002 – Reading

4

8

5.76

 0

16

16

  89

109

25

50

2003 – Reading

4

7

5.71

 1

  28

  13

  86.2

  116

  25

  47

 

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