Sweet on Franicsco, Frazier and Valaika
Posted by jfay September 26th, 2009, 5:52 pm

Louisville manager Rick Sweet is with the Reds for this series, I talked to him about Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier and Chris Valaika:

–Francisco: Fans are getting a look at Francisco at the plate. He’s looked good so far. He’s hitting ht, hitting .462 with a home run and four RBI in 13 at-bats. Francisco combined to hit .295 with 27 homers and 93 RBI at Double-A and Triple-A this year.

But Francisco plays third base. The Reds have Scott Rolen there. Francisco did play some left field for Sweet.

“He was all right,” Sweet said. “To be quite honest, I was surprised. I don’t know it but we had worked him out there before. So he had some experience. He made all the plays. In fact, he made a couple of plays where he had to run a long way. His routes were good to the ball, which is an instinctual thing. I put guys out and you’d see them go for balls and say: This ain’t going to work. You didn’t say that with him.”

Francisco will go to the Instructional League to work on his outfield skills.

–Frazier: The Reds moved him to second base midway through this year. He’s played first, shortstop third and outfield as well. The transition to second hasn’t been easy.

“He’s rough,” Sweet said. “I think that’s the best word. In fact, he’s in Instructional League right now. He’s rough.

“But if you understand what kind of player he’s going to be, you can smooth that out. I think the biggest thing is he can hit. What we’re trying to do is figure out where he’ll fit best. I don’t think he’s a utility guy. He’s young enough that we’re going to have to sit down and make the decision. He’s good enough that he could play if that’s what we decide to do.”

Frazier combined to hit .292 with 45 doubles, 16 home runs and 77 RBI at Double-A and Triple-A this year.

–Valaika: Valaika started off terribly. He hit .161 in April and May. He then missed time with a broken hand – the result of hitting a water cooler in frustration.

“The time off helped him,” Sweet said. “He was really struggling – big time. He had never struggled in his life. I think when he got hurt he stepped back and said: This isn’t me. When he came back, he hit and had good at-bats.”

Valaika finished up by hitting .299 in August and September.