The middle of November is the half point in the off season leagues except for the Arizona Fall League which ended on Thursday. The Caribbean Leagues are at the half way point. For two Phillies prospects the off season results has been polar opposites: Ken Giles has dominated in relief in the AFL and Maikel Franco has struggled to generate power in the Dominican Winter League.
It was like putting a cherry on top of a Sundae as Ken Giles pitched the final inning of the AFL season yesterday for the Peoria Javelinas. He struck out the side in the ninth inning to pick up his third save in three opportunities in the AFL. He has simply been brilliant except for one outing when he failed to retire any of seven batters he faced. In the other ten outing including the one inning in the AFL Stars game he struck out 18 in 11.1 innings, giving up only five hits and no runs. Control had been his problem in the past and in those ten games he did walk six but batters hit only .132 against him.
Maikel Franco has been recognized as the MiLB staff’s 2013 Breakout Prospect Of The Year in all of minor league baseball. SEE HERE . However in the first 20 games in the DWL he has yet to hit a home run and committed six errors at third base. France hit 31 long balls combined at A+ and AA this season and played strong defense in the field. He has been moved to first base in the last week.
Franco is still tenth in batting average in the DWL hitting .310 but has only four extra base hits, all doubles and has driven in only eight runs. He is just not generating much offense scoring only nine runs in those 20 games which has contributed to a -3 in the Baseball Ross’s Offense plus/minus ratings. His OPS is .700 compared to .926 combined at Clearwater and Reading this season where he had a +58 Offense +/- rating and a slash line of .310/333/.366.
Though the AFL season is over Ken Giles has already won the Baseball Ross 2013 Phillies Off Season Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award. The Position Player award is still up for grabs. No one seems to want it. Catcher Sebastian Valle did go three for four for Los Mochis in the Mexican Pacific League last night to get his batting average over .200. Freddy Galvis won last night’s game for Zulia in the VWL with a walk off bunt single. Right now Freddy is the odds on favorite with his .310/.359/.507 slash line. But he has only a +4 in Baseball Ross’s Offensive +/- ratings
Do not rule out Cesar Hernandez either for the Award. He is slashing at .270/.330/.382 but most importantly his Baseball Ross Offensive +/- is at +9 by scoring 19 runs and driving in 13 runs in 23 games so far in the VWL. What excitement! But right now the apparently less than coveted position player award is still up for grabs as those leagues go to the end of the year.
Ken Giles has already proved he deserves an invite to the Phillies major league spring training camp with his remarkable performance in the AFL. We expect Maikel Franco, Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez to be in camp too fighting for jobs on the opening day 25 man Phillies roster.