Baker on Francisco
Posted by JohnFay at 2/27/2009 9:59 AM EST on

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."