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Thread: Dusty on Juan Francisco

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Dusty on Juan Francisco

    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...cincinnati.com
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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    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...incinnatireds/
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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    “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.
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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    “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?

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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    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...09/267688.html
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  6. #6
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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Key stats: .360/.419/.665 in 161 ABs
    That is one fantastic line.

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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    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.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    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?

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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    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.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    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.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    Here's a couple pictures of Francisco from the Cincinnati Enquirer...


    Given a chance to start, third baseman Juan Francisco was one for three, drove in a run and scored a run.


    Third baseman Juan Francisco.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Here's a couple pictures of Francisco from the Cincinnati Enquirer...


    Given a chance to start, third baseman Juan Francisco was one for three, drove in a run and scored a run.


    Third baseman Juan Francisco.
    Wily Mo Pena is that you?
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  13. #13
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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    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?

  14. #14
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    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.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Dusty on Juan Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    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:

    Quote Originally Posted by excerpt from "You Can Teach 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?
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner


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