PDA

View Full Version : Dusty on Juan Francisco



OnBaseMachine
02-27-2009, 10:31 AM
Baker on Francisco
Posted by JohnFay at 2/27/2009 9:59 AM EST on Cincinnati.com

Dusty Baker likes prospect Juan Francisco a lot.

“He can hit,” Baker said. “He’s what you want young hitters to be. He’s aggressive. You want a young hitter that you can tone down, versus tone up. You want guys to be selective and go deep in the count, but that’s something that comes with experience. With young hitters, you want to see them aggressive."

Francisco, 21, is very aggressive -- 62 walks and 353 strikeouts in 1,426 minor league at-bats.

“It’s hard to turn that flame up."

Francisco was sensational in Winter Ball. He hit 12 home runs in the regular season to set a record for left-handers. Baker doesn’t discount those numbers.

“I put big stock in them,” he said. “Anybody whoever played Winter Ball knows that Winter Ball is no joke. People into it big time. Gambling on games. Therefore, that puts pressure on you. You better play good or you’re going to hear it from somebody. Dominican League is as good as it is in Winter Baseball. He’s batting cleanup on his team. Big ballparks. I put a lot of stock in that.”

The question is where will Francisco play.

“He has a great arm,” Baker said. “There’s a good athlete in that young, oversized body. He’ll tone up. He’s working hard. Everybody’s not born skinny. Albert Pujols wasn’t skinny at kid, Walt (Jocketty) told me. David Bell likes (Francisco's) hands. He could play outfield, too. He could play first base."

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=blog07&plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3ae57bcc87-152a-4f72-96fb-cc08b1f396efPost%3aba1e7918-4e01-48d8-831f-d38cff578675&sid=sitelife.cincinnati.com

OnBaseMachine
02-27-2009, 10:41 AM
With Encarnacion out of the lineup, fans were presented the chance to see Juan Francisco at third base. Just two years ago, the 6-2, 180-pound Dominican hit 25 homers and drove in 90 runs for the Class A Dayton Dragons in 135 games. Last year he hit 23 homers and drove in 92 runs in 127 games for Class A Sarasota.

During winter ball in the Dominican this year, he hit 12 home runs for Cibao, a Dominican Winter League record for lefthanded hitters.

“He can hit,” Baker said of Francisco. “He is what you want young hitters to be. He is aggressive. You want a young hitter you can tone down rather than have to tone up. You want guys to be selective, you want guys to go deep in the count. But that comes with experience. But you want to see young hitters be aggressive.”

Francisco’s aggression has led to 284 strikeouts the last two years and Baker said, “That’s what I mean about toning something down. You can turn that flame down. That’s easier than turning a flame up.”

Baker said Francisco’s winter ball numbers carry credence.

“I put big stock in them,” said Baker. “Anybody who has played winter ball knows. It’s more serious baseball for guys in that country than ours is. You have people into it big-time, gambling on games (by fans). That’s how it is, therefore it puts pressure on you. You better play good or you’re going to hear from somebody up there.”

Tossed bottles and pulled guns are part of the winter league fabric.

“Dominican baseball is as good as there is in winter ball and Francisco is batted cleanup on his team, a kid (21) just out of ‘A’ ball,” Baker added. “And those parks down there are big. I put a lot of stock in that.”

Francisco is a third baseman by trade, but there is chatter about moving him to the outfield or first base.

“He has a great arm,” said Baker. “There is a good athlete in that young oversized body right now. He’ll tone up. He’s working hard. Not everybody is born skinny. Everybody wants him to be thinner, but Albert Pujols wasn’t skinny when he started, either.”

Francisco has the quick hands of a third baseman, but as Baker says, “I’m sure he can play the outfield and can play first base, too. It depends on what the organization needs. I mean it’s a matter of stockpiling.

“You got Todd Frazier at short and Yonder Alonzo at first and Frazier also at third and Chris Valaika at short. Eventually they are all going to be playing together so you have to find where they can play according to body type, arm, speed, athleticism. We have to make the right decisions on where we put these kids,” Baker added.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/

M2
02-27-2009, 10:59 AM
“Anybody whoever played Winter Ball knows that Winter Ball is no joke. People into it big time. Gambling on games. Therefore, that puts pressure on you."

I know what he meant, but tell me he did not just say that.

dougdirt
02-27-2009, 01:15 PM
“Anybody whoever played Winter Ball knows that Winter Ball is no joke. People into it big time. Gambling on games. Therefore, that puts pressure on you."

I know what he meant, but tell me he did not just say that.

What, you expected Baker to think before he spoke?

OnBaseMachine
02-27-2009, 01:44 PM
Francisco made Baseball America's All Winter League Team:

Juan Francisco, dh, Reds: Questions remain about his third base defense but he's got the bat, adding six home runs in the Dominican League playoffs after cracking 12 in the regular season.
Key stats: .360/.419/.665 in 161 ABs

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/minors/winter-baseball/winter-wonders/2009/267688.html

BRM
02-27-2009, 01:45 PM
Key stats: .360/.419/.665 in 161 ABs


That is one fantastic line.

lollipopcurve
02-27-2009, 03:09 PM
It's becoming clear that this kid is more than a lower minors mirage. It now appears that outside of plate discipline he may have the best hitting tools among all minor leaguers in the system.

dougdirt
02-27-2009, 03:12 PM
It's becoming clear that this kid is more than a lower minors mirage. It now appears that outside of plate discipline he may have the best hitting tools among all minor leaguers in the system.

He just might, but with such an aggressive approach, its going to be tough for him to succeed. The key thing is, look at what he does by swinging at bad pitches.... what would he do if he only swung at pitches in the zone or close to the zone?

Scrap Irony
02-27-2009, 03:43 PM
Interesting, too, this comment about how the prospects all get stockpiled together: "You got Todd Frazier at short and Yonder Alonzo at first and Frazier also at third and Chris Valaika at short. Eventually they are all going to be playing together so you have to find where they can play according to body type, arm, speed, athleticism. We have to make the right decisions on where we put these kids.”

He also mentioned OF and Francisco's cannon, so I don't think he was talking about left (where big arms go to die). Either he was talking just to hear himself (likely) or he was of the opinion Francisco could play RF. If so, does Jay Bruce move back to CF?

Probably not, as Cincinnati made finding/ signing a CF Job #1 this off-season.

Does it then mean Bruce could switch to LF?

Possible. But, if that happens, whither Joey Votto? No, I think Bruce is likely where he'll spend at least the next five years. That, in turn, means Francisco has only two destinations-- the hot corner and LF. Since LF is less likely (as Votto will have to be moved there, not to mention the log jam of other prospects possible), Francisco's most probable position is 3B.

So, that in turn would mean Frazier has to play either 2B (not mentioned as a possibility) or SS (which was). That would turn Valaika into a 2B, meaning both Phillips and EdE (and possibly Votto) would be available as early as 2010.

Interesting to think about, though it probably means nothing.

RedsManRick
02-27-2009, 07:07 PM
Is there really an endemic problem with getting young players to be aggressive? It seems to me the bigger issue is finding young hitters who are able to distinguish those pitches which they can hit from those which they can't. It's that skill which really allows hitters to succeed at a young age.

OnBaseMachine
02-28-2009, 12:42 AM
Here's a couple pictures of Francisco from the Cincinnati Enquirer...

http://cmsimg.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?NewTbl=1&Avis=AB&Dato=20090227&Kategori=SPT04&Lopenr=902270820&Ref=PH&Item=11&MaxH=475&MaxW=485&Border=0
Given a chance to start, third baseman Juan Francisco was one for three, drove in a run and scored a run.

http://cmsimg.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?NewTbl=1&Avis=AB&Dato=20090227&Kategori=SPT04&Lopenr=902270820&Ref=PH&Item=12&MaxH=475&MaxW=485&Border=0
Third baseman Juan Francisco.

NeilHamburger
02-28-2009, 01:49 AM
Jeff Francouer had great hype and numbers in the minors too, being that aggressive just will not work in the bigs. If he doesn't improve on that I'd trade him at his highest value in a few years when he's ripping AAA pitching. I'm not saying I'm giving up on him, I'm just saying if he doesn't develop a decent eye he'll get eaten alive once MLB pitchers catch up with him in the second half of his rookie season.

icehole3
02-28-2009, 05:55 AM
he is showing some improvement, he is clearly aware of his problem, I wouldnt worry just yet.

bucksfan2
02-28-2009, 09:01 AM
Is there really an endemic problem with getting young players to be aggressive? It seems to me the bigger issue is finding young hitters who are able to distinguish those pitches which they can hit from those which they can't. It's that skill which really allows hitters to succeed at a young age.

How do you teach that? The Reds tried with Obie forcing every minor leaguer to take the first pitch. There were many players, Votto, who hated that mandate. Krivsky came in and did away with taking the first pitch. Can you do this to just Francisco? It would seem like a pretty good idea to take until he gets a strike to help him learn the zone. If he can accept his numbers being lower while he learns a better zone would be good thing.

But at the same time you have to wonder if wanting Francisco to be a little less aggressive at the plate would take away from his power. Would it be worth it then?

Kc61
02-28-2009, 09:43 AM
JF has star quality. He has prodigious power, makes good contact, reasonably good BA, seems to hit timely with high RBI totals, strikeouts down for a power man, dominated the Winter Leagues, also has a great throwing arm.

And at 21 he has completed High A Ball.

Look at the Reds top ten prospects lists. Most of the guys project as solid but unspectacular players.

JF projects as a big time player. If he can get his OBP into the .320 range he can be a big time player. That doesn't require too much improvement. He's very young, I'm confident he can make the improvement.

I've been on the JF bandwagon for two years. The guy is an underrated Reds' prospect.

RedsManRick
02-28-2009, 09:58 AM
How do you teach that? The Reds tried with Obie forcing every minor leaguer to take the first pitch. There were many players, Votto, who hated that mandate. Krivsky came in and did away with taking the first pitch. Can you do this to just Francisco? It would seem like a pretty good idea to take until he gets a strike to help him learn the zone. If he can accept his numbers being lower while he learns a better zone would be good thing.

But at the same time you have to wonder if wanting Francisco to be a little less aggressive at the plate would take away from his power. Would it be worth it then?

I don't know how you teach it; I'm not a baseball coach.

I'm just saying that "aggressiveness" is hardly a rare trait among young baseball players and being overly fine with their plate discipline is not exactly a common problem. I don't understand what Dusty's point is from an evaluation perspective.

Scrap Irony
02-28-2009, 10:04 AM
According to Dusty, passivity leads to allowing that one pitch you usually get in an at-bat go by, hoping to find another. He wants a team that goes deep in counts, walks a bit, but stays aggressive at the plate.

How he gets all three of those things, I have no clue.

You'd think a guy that saw Barry Bonds absolutely tear the league a new one would realize how valuable patience is. Then again, I can appreciate the idea of wailing on that one pitch, too, as Bonds did.

Okay, now I get it. All young players need to hit like Barry Bonds.

Proceed.

SMcGavin
02-28-2009, 10:32 AM
According to Dusty, passivity leads to allowing that one pitch you usually get in an at-bat go by, hoping to find another. He wants a team that goes deep in counts, walks a bit, but stays aggressive at the plate.

How he gets all three of those things, I have no clue.


You nailed it... Dusty gives lip service to being patient. And given the rare player who can be patient and also aggressive on hammering his pitch (Bonds), I have no doubt that Dusty would correctly identify his patience as one of his key attributes. But when patience and aggressiveness come into conflict (99% of ballplayers), Dusty is always going to err on the side of telling the player to be aggressive.

In short, Dusty thinks walks are important but thinks being aggressive is more important - and since it is very difficult to do both well, most guys who listen to him are going to end up swinging away.

jojo
02-28-2009, 12:20 PM
If performance during winter ball has great meaning then the significance of spring training must be off the charts?

jojo
02-28-2009, 12:30 PM
I don't know how you teach it; I'm not a baseball coach.

"I'm just saying that "aggressiveness" is hardly a rare trait among young baseball players and being overly fine with their plate discipline is not exactly a common problem. I don't understand what Dusty's point is from an evaluation perspective."

I don't know how Dusty could more effectively articulate his views on aggression to players but he did have this to say about music in his book on hitting:


Many advanced hitters like to listen to music to help them relax and to get some rhythm in their hitting. The music can be provided by a public address system or by a portable stereo. Some players like rhythm and blues, some jazz, rock and roll, or country/western. Dusty preferred rhythm and blues or jazz, because he felt that it got him into a flow like dancing."

Maybe Francisco just listens to the wrong music?

*BaseClogger*
02-28-2009, 03:33 PM
JF projects as a big time player. If he can get his OBP into the .320 range he can be a big time player.

What big time player had a .320 OBP? Heck, even Ryan Braun had a .335 OBP last year...

*BaseClogger*
02-28-2009, 03:36 PM
Here's a couple pictures of Francisco from the Cincinnati Enquirer...

http://cmsimg.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?NewTbl=1&Avis=AB&Dato=20090227&Kategori=SPT04&Lopenr=902270820&Ref=PH&Item=11&MaxH=475&MaxW=485&Border=0
Given a chance to start, third baseman Juan Francisco was one for three, drove in a run and scored a run.

http://cmsimg.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?NewTbl=1&Avis=AB&Dato=20090227&Kategori=SPT04&Lopenr=902270820&Ref=PH&Item=12&MaxH=475&MaxW=485&Border=0
Third baseman Juan Francisco.

Wily Mo Pena is that you?

*BaseClogger*
02-28-2009, 03:37 PM
If performance during winter ball has great meaning then the significance of spring training must be off the charts?

Almost as important as the Mexican Pacific League...

stock
02-28-2009, 03:56 PM
I don't understand what Dusty's point is from an evaluation perspective.

Remember this is Dusty. Expecting him to respond to a question is one thing. Expecting him to have a point is a bit much.

lollipopcurve
02-28-2009, 04:22 PM
Wily Mo Pena is that you?

This guy is a better player than WMP.

jojo
02-28-2009, 04:40 PM
This guy is a better player than WMP.

Well Juan did strike out a little less against A ball arms than Wily mo did against major leaguers at a similar age. Juan can hang his hat on that I guess.

lollipopcurve
02-28-2009, 04:56 PM
Well Juan did strike out a little less against A ball arms than Wily mo did against major leaguers at a similar age. Juan can hang his hat on that I guess.

Better baseball athlete, better barrel skills. The better development path will favor Francisco, too.

jojo
02-28-2009, 05:01 PM
Better baseball athlete, better barrel skills. The better development path will favor Francisco, too.

He's got power and a strong arm but likely will end up at first base making his arm strength a bit of a waste.

OnBaseMachine
02-28-2009, 09:05 PM
THERE HAS BEEN talk about moving 21-year-old prospect Juan Francisco from third base to outfield or first base. After watching him for little more than a week, former major-league third baseman David Bell, manager of the Reds Class AA Hickory team, says he should stay right where he is. “He has really good actions at third base, has the arm strength to play there and has good hands,” said Bell. “Good hands comes from good footwork and he has that, too. As footwork improves, your hands get softer.” Faulty footwork is what plagues current third baseman Edwin Encarnacion.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/

dougdirt
03-01-2009, 03:23 AM
THERE HAS BEEN talk about moving 21-year-old prospect Juan Francisco from third base to outfield or first base. After watching him for little more than a week, former major-league third baseman David Bell, manager of the Reds Class AA Hickory team, says he should stay right where he is. “He has really good actions at third base, has the arm strength to play there and has good hands,” said Bell. “Good hands comes from good footwork and he has that, too. As footwork improves, your hands get softer.” Faulty footwork is what plagues current third baseman Edwin Encarnacion.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/

AA Hickory? Really?

Kc61
03-01-2009, 07:30 AM
What big time player had a .320 OBP? Heck, even Ryan Braun had a .335 OBP last year...


Probably not too many, but Beltre has a lifetime .327 OBP. Garrett Anderson too. Last year Cantu had .277/29/95 with a .327 OBP. Mark Reynolds hit 28 homers and 97 RBIs with a .320 OBP.

And over the history of baseball, there have been a number of free swingers who contributed offensively. I remember Manny Sanguillen who was the prototype free swinger who still produced offensively.

Obviously it's not an advantage to hit for a low OBP, but there have been very productive hitters in the .320 -.330 OBP range.

The main point, though, is that JF if only 21. His OBP in the Winter League this year was .419 in 161 at bats.

blumj
03-01-2009, 08:22 AM
AA Hickory? Really?
There are a lot worse rosters to swipe if you had the chance, though.

lollipopcurve
03-01-2009, 09:20 AM
He's got power and a strong arm but likely will end up at first base making his arm strength a bit of a waste.

Meanwhile, at spring training...


"After watching him for little more than a week, former major-league third baseman David Bell, manager of the Reds Class AA Hickory team, says he should stay right where he is.

"He has really good actions at third base, has the arm strength to play there and has good hands," said Bell. "Good hands comes from good footwork and he has that, too. As footwork improves, your hands get softer."

The Wily Mo comp gets more tenuous the more we learn about Francisco.

jojo
03-01-2009, 09:58 AM
Meanwhile, at spring training...



The Wily Mo comp gets more tenuous the more we learn about Francisco.

Not really. The knock on Francisco is that has no range and and isn't a good enough runner to automatically assume he could do well in the outfield especially given concerns about how he might fill out.

David Bell could pick it when he played but really is he saying anything about Francisco other than "don't move him to first yet-he might get better"?

Juan is Wily mo lite (i.e. a version even Bowden wouldn't fream could play CF).

lollipopcurve
03-01-2009, 11:03 AM
Not really. The knock on Francisco is that has no range and and isn't a good enough runner to automatically assume he could do well in the outfield especially given concerns about how he might fill out.

We're comparing to WMP, right? So, saying Francisco may not do well in the OF means he might be as bad out there as WMP? WMP is one of the worst outfielders I've seen in the major leagues.


David Bell could pick it when he played but really is he saying anything about Francisco other than "don't move him to first yet-he might get better"?

If I recall correctly, Francisco was voted best defensive 3B in the Florida State League this past year. Combine that with Bell's comments, and your suggestion that Francisco has no value as a 3B seems unnecessarily stubborn. And again, seeing as how we're comparing Francisco to WMP, it should be obvious that Francisco's ability to play infield -- whether it be 3B or 1B -- makes him a decidedly more valuable defensive asset than WMP ever was or will be (WMP is quickly headed to DH-only status, I think).


Juan is Wily mo lite (i.e. a version even Bowden wouldn't fream could play CF).

Not sure what you're saying here. That Wily Mo has better speed? Maybe so, but it certainly has translated into effective defense or effective baserunning.

I see it this way -- Francisco has good hands in the field and at the plate -- something Pena does not have. This will allow Francisco to play the infield. Pena has no shot at playing the infield, and his contributions in the OF have always been suspect, at best. At the plate, Francisco has the barrel skills (partly a function of good hands) that will allow him to adjust to offspeed stuff and use the whole field more effectively than Wily Mo. His K rate in the minors is improving, and right now sits at 24%, compared to WMP's 30%. His minor league BA is .275, about 20 points higher than WMP's was. Better hands -- and, as noted earlier, a much better timeline on which to develop his skiils -- give Francisco a chance to be a much more productive hitter in the major leagues than WMP has been.

Throw in other stuff like instincts and durability, where signs point to Francisco being superior, and I have a hard time seeing how he stacks up as "Wily Mo lite."

jojo
03-01-2009, 11:10 AM
We're comparing to WMP, right? So, saying Francisco may not do well in the OF means he might be as bad out there as WMP? WMP is one of the worst outfielders I've seen in the major leagues.



If I recall correctly, Francisco was voted best defensive 3B in the Florida State League this past year. Combine that with Bell's comments, and your suggestion that Francisco has no value as a 3B seems unnecessarily stubborn. And again, seeing as how we're comparing Francisco to WMP, it should be obvious that Francisco's ability to play infield -- whether it be 3B or 1B -- makes him a decidedly more valuable defensive asset than WMP ever was or will be (WMP is quickly headed to DH-only status, I think).



Not sure what you're saying here. That Wily Mo has better speed? Maybe so, but it certainly has translated into effective defense or effective baserunning.

I see it this way -- Francisco has good hands in the field and at the plate -- something Pena does not have. This will allow Francisco to play the infield. Pena has no shot at playing the infield, and his contributions in the OF have always been suspect, at best. At the plate, Francisco has the barrel skills (partly a function of good hands) that will allow him to adjust to offspeed stuff and use the whole field more effectively than Wily Mo. His K rate in the minors is improving, and right now sits at 24%, compared to WMP's 30%. His minor league BA is .275, about 20 points higher than WMP's was. Better hands -- and, as noted earlier, a much better timeline on which to develop his skiils -- give Francisco a chance to be a much more productive hitter in the major leagues than WMP has been.

Throw in other stuff like instincts and durability, where signs point to Francisco being superior, and I have a hard time seeing how he stacks up as "Wily Mo lite."

What I'm saying is that Juan has power and a strong arm. Concern over range issues suggests his road to the majors likely rests solely on power.

It's a rocky road in other words.

camisadelgolf
03-01-2009, 12:51 PM
If Francisco is the next Pena, let's trade him for the next Arroyo. :lol:

Kc61
03-01-2009, 01:11 PM
Focus, please, on the Reds top prospects. Which ones do you think could realistically become more potent major league hitters than JF?

Alonso could, certainly. Soto? Debatable but he's young and advanced and it's possible.

Anyone else? Do you see Valaika or Stubbs being more of an offensive force than Francisco could be?

Todd Frazier is a more polished all around hitter. But I think it's an open question whether Francisco or Frazier will be the more feared major league hitter.

dougdirt
03-01-2009, 01:28 PM
Upside of Francisco? Soto or Alonso. Thats probably it. That said, Francisco's floor is incredibly low in terms of the Majors.

*BaseClogger*
03-01-2009, 04:23 PM
If Francisco is the next Pena, let's trade him for the next Arroyo. :lol:

Seriously... :)

OnBaseMachine
03-27-2009, 02:23 AM
JUAN POWER: Third base prospect Juan Francisco hit a ball that had the other players talking.

From one of the back fields, he hit a home run that landed in the visitors’ bullpen at Ed Smith Stadium. Home plate is 498 feet from the bullpen fence and the fence is 8-foot high. It was wind-aided but that’s a pretty good poke.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20090326/SPT04/303260037/1071