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's Cycle Caps Doubleheader for the Ages

At this point, albeit late in the season, concerns over the Phillies top prospect Maikel Franco‘s early struggles should be in the rear-view mirror. The smooth-swinging Dominican product has shaken off an early-season swoon and has spent the better part of the last two months replicating his uncanny 2013 campaign at the plate. Saturday night, Franco carved out a little piece of Phillies minor league history with a doubleheader performance for the ages. In a twin-billing against the Syracuse Chiefs, both games capped after seven innings, the organization’s top prospect produced enough highlights for a month.

In the opener against the Chiefs, Franco hit his 13th home run of the season and just missed number 14 in his very next at bat. With a matchup against the same team almost immediately after the opener, there was little time for Franco’s scalding stick to simmer. What proceeded from the opening pitch was one of the more impressive showings one will see from a player who has yet to take a major league at bat. Franco spent his first four at bats in the Iron Pigs 7-1 dropping the jaws of everyone in attendance.

Franco’s solo shot in the 6th capped an 7-8 evening (between the two games) and completed just the 2nd cycle in Lehigh Valley history. His batting average is at .254, and climbing. As the Phillies’ season draws near its merciful end, the late-season performance of their top prospect has been a welcome distraction coming down the home stretch. One still has to wonder if Franco is under consideration for a September call-up, or if the organization might way until the Spring for him to challenge for a spot on the big league roster. Either way, regardless of the fact that it was in the minor leagues, hitting a cycle is a tremendous accomplishment. Here’s to hoping Franco’s hot hitting carries its way into the fall and gives Phillies fans something to look forward to as far as the future of the franchise is concerned.

Tags: Maikel Franco Philadelphia Phillies

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