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View Full Version : Red's Prospect Francisco Powering Up In Winter Ball



GAC
01-17-2009, 07:57 AM
I was originally going to post this in the minor league forum; but after reading about him - and knowing very little until this article - I thought it would make a interesting discussion over here, would like to hear other's insights/opinions, as to if the Red's FO might think he may be the answer, at some point (he's 21) at 3B?

I'm really not as knowledgeable as some on here when it comes to following the depth of our farm system.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090115&content_id=3745033&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

CINCINNATI -- Reds prospect Juan Francisco may have to declare some of his power when he goes through customs before Spring Training. He's got a lot of it.

A 21-year-old third baseman, Francisco has had a Winter League season that has laid waste to pitchers in the Dominican Republic.

Playing for the Ciabo Gigantes, Francisco batted .360 with 12 home runs, 37 RBIs and a 1.084 on-base/slugging percentage in 40 regular season games. He broke a 33-year-old Dominican Winter League record for most homers by a left-handed hitter in a season.

The momentum has carried into the Dominican postseason, where Francisco is batting .333 (20-for-60), with five homers and 14 RBIs over 15 games of a round-robin tournament.

"He's had a great winter, he's continued to do it in the playoffs," Reds Minor League director Terry Reynolds said. "We've all been pleased with his numbers."

Francisco was with Class A Sarasota in 2008 and batted .277 with 23 homers and 92 RBIs. Baseball America rated him with the best power and as the best defensive third baseman in the Florida State League. He was also ranked the Reds' No. 8 prospect on its most recent list.

"The two knowns you have with Juan is his great raw power and arm strength," Reynolds said. "His bat has been a plus since the day we got him."

Francisco is on the Reds' 40-man roster and will be participating in his first big league Spring Training next month. Although winter ball performance doesn't always provide a strong indicator for how a player will do during a regular season, the competition level is considered very high. It seems like this year's experience can do nothing but help Francisco.

"He'll have 200 at-bats and see good pitching, have quality at-bats and he's working on his weaknesses," Reynolds said. "These are good things that come out of playing winter ball."

camisadelgolf
01-17-2009, 08:08 AM
He's drawn a lot of comparisons to Wily Mo Pena and rightly so, imo, because his biggest weakness is plate discipline. Although he hasn't yet learned to take a walk, he struck out much less in 2008, so we're seeing improvement in his ability to make contact, which is very encouraging. As someone has said about him, if he learns to take two more walks per month, he goes from having an anemic OBP to having an OBP that would justify putting him in the starting lineup (provided his SLG stays high). Many people believe that Francisco also has the strongest arm in the organization. Oh, and more thing . . . His frame has filled out quite a bit, so we may see him switch from third base (where he's very error prone) to left field.

membengal
01-17-2009, 08:22 AM
The power is indeed legit, as those numbers for Sarasota were eye-popping, given how that league suppresses SLG.

Still, his inability to take a walk has kept me from mentally counting on him in the future. If he starts to show a smidgen of plate discipline, however, he would be a real prospect.

RedLegSuperStar
01-17-2009, 08:53 AM
I think he could spend time with dayton and louisville this season ans maybe get a september call up. This organization is going to have its surplus of 3rd baseman/1st baseman/outfielders next season with Frazier, Valiaka, Alonso, Francisco, Stubbs, and Dorn to go with Votto, Encarnacion, Bruce, and Taveras.

RedEye
01-17-2009, 11:20 AM
I think he could spend time with dayton and louisville this season ans maybe get a september call up. This organization is going to have its surplus of 3rd baseman/1st baseman/outfielders next season with Frazier, Valiaka, Alonso, Francisco, Stubbs, and Dorn to go with Votto, Encarnacion, Bruce, and Taveras.

I think Stubbs should be differentiated from the others since he is by all accounts a plus defender in CF. Everyone else on that list is a potentially good/great bat, but at a lower premium defensive position (3B/1B/corner OF). Stubbs can be a borderline star with just a decent/good stick to go with his D. I think the others probably need to tear up the ball to be stars at their positions.

Wheelhouse
01-17-2009, 11:33 AM
His frame has filled out quite a bit, so we may see him switch from third base (where he's very error prone) to left field.

Then why was he called "the best defensive third baseman in the Florida State League?"

dougdirt
01-17-2009, 11:36 AM
Then why was he called "the best defensive third baseman in the Florida State League?"

For the same reason Michael Young and Derek Jeter have gold gloves....

Francisco has a rocket arm, but his range is questionable and he isn't as athletic as he once was because of the size he has put on as he has gotten older. People see the arm though and get caught up in it.

Cooper
01-17-2009, 12:12 PM
He loses so much value by shifting to the outfield. Can he get by at 3rd base? Is he better defensively than EE?

RedsManRick
01-17-2009, 12:42 PM
While the Wily Mo comparisons are logical, there are examples of guys with prodigious power who learned their plate discipline later on. You can range from Wily Mo, to Marcus Thames, to Sammy Sosa.

Given his arm, it seems the next logical place for him defensively would be RF.

jojo
01-17-2009, 01:37 PM
What about the bullpen? That's a perfect place for a rocket arm who Ks alot.... :cool:

All kidding aside, when you're in the FSL, you're 80% what scouts dream you are and 20% what you are. He could develop into a valuable major leaguer, but he has a lot of work left to do.

Wheelhouse
01-17-2009, 02:03 PM
For the same reason Michael Young and Derek Jeter have gold gloves....

Francisco has a rocket arm, but his range is questionable and he isn't as athletic as he once was because of the size he has put on as he has gotten older. People see the arm though and get caught up in it.

But the statement was "error prone." Is he?

camisadelgolf
01-17-2009, 03:40 PM
But the statement was "error prone." Is he?

For his career at 3B, he has a .921 fielding percentage. To be fair, though, he is a little less error prone than Edwin Encarnacion was around the same age.

dougdirt
01-17-2009, 05:51 PM
But the statement was "error prone." Is he?

You never really know with a lot of minor leaguers. Between minor league field conditions, minor league first baseman and minor league scorers.... error totals can't really tell us a whole lot. He is charged with plenty of errors, but without watching all of his games, I am not sure one can make that statement and truly be able to back it up given the circumstances.

TRF
01-17-2009, 06:19 PM
You never really know with a lot of minor leaguers. Between minor league field conditions, minor league first baseman and minor league scorers.... error totals can't really tell us a whole lot. He is charged with plenty of errors, but without watching all of his games, I am not sure one can make that statement and truly be able to back it up given the circumstances.

More reasons to trust scouting at the minor league level and take SOME numbers with a grain of salt. Francisco was voted best defensive 3B in the FSL. Was that by coaches? writers? his peers? Defensively, IF he's filled out too much, perhaps a position switch is in the offing. However, I've seen it posted that he's lost lateral movement due to his larger frame. Yet I haven't seen that idea attributed to any coach or scout.

In my mind, he's a 3B until he's forced out of the role.

Always Red
01-17-2009, 06:29 PM
What about the bullpen? That's a perfect place for a rocket arm who Ks alot.... :cool:

All kidding aside, when you're in the FSL, you're 80% what scouts dream you are and 20% what you are. He could develop into a valuable major leaguer, but he has a lot of work left to do.

I was able to see him play in Sarasota last summer for two games. I was struck by how BIG he is; he appeared to be... under-conditioned, to be blunt. He was flailing at anything and everything offspeed, and looked bad doing it, but then I saw him hit two absolutely impressive tracers into the RF gap on FB's.

IMO, he has a ways to go, but he does have the raw power at the dish.

dougdirt
01-17-2009, 06:35 PM
More reasons to trust scouting at the minor league level and take SOME numbers with a grain of salt. Francisco was voted best defensive 3B in the FSL. Was that by coaches? writers? his peers? Defensively, IF he's filled out too much, perhaps a position switch is in the offing. However, I've seen it posted that he's lost lateral movement due to his larger frame. Yet I haven't seen that idea attributed to any coach or scout.

In my mind, he's a 3B until he's forced out of the role.
Generally that stuff is voted on by coaches. The League top 20's are usually done with information gathered from coaches within the leagues, which is why you will see guys vary from league rankings, to team rankings to top 100 list rankings when all done by BA. Let me also note that its pretty common that not all coaches participate in the league top 20's.
Scouts for the most part however think he is likely to move off the position because of his size and lack of lateral movement these days.