Mar 16, 2014; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco (74) bats in the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a spring training exhibition at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

VIDEO: Maikel Franco Punctuates Walk-Off HR With Epic Bat Flip

Unless you’re like myself, who tunes into Phillies game for the sole purpose to see if Ken Giles pitches, there’s almost no reason to tune into their daily malaise. A bright spot over the past month or so has been the re-emergence of Maikel Franco as an imposing threat at the plate in the minor leagues. Franco has salvaged what started as a discouraging campaign and, over the last two months, displayed the type of power and ability at the plate that made him the team’s top offensive prospect.

Sunday night, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs found themselves trailing the Buffalo Bisons 2-0 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. After scratching across a run to cut the deficit to one, Franco stepped to the dish with a man on and two outs, representing the game-winning run. What took place from there is the sort of demonstration of pure talent and confidence one would hope to see from a prospect for an organization in dire need of both.

Franco’s two-run shot, his 12th of the season and seventh since the start of July, propelled the Pigs to a win in an otherwise miserable season (joining the rest of the organization as far as futility goes). In terms of the bat-flip, I’d give it a solid 7.5 on a scale of 1-10. It wasn’t with the same fluidity as Yasiel Puig‘s countless displays of bravado, but that’s what the Minor Leagues are for, right? It hasn’t yet been determined whether Franco will be joining the Phillies as one of their September call-ups. If not, he’s ending his 2014 campaign on a high note and should be one of a few prospects with a chance to challenge for a spot on the big team next season.

Tags: Ken Giles Maikel Franco Philadelphia Phillies

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