Traded for J.J. Hoover yesterday, Francisco is suddenly the heir apparent/fill-in for Chipper.. A product of the Dominican, Francisco signed with the Reds in 2004 but didn’t play in Organized Baseball until 2006, when he was 19. As the old saying goes, you can’t walk off the island, and he is practically a walking — or non-walking — example of that cliche; in 2554 career minor league plate appearances, he has just 99 walks, leading to an isolated on-base of .031.
What Francisco does bring to the table is prodigious power. He hit 25 homers in A-ball at the age of 20, and in his other two full minor league seasons also topped the 20-homer mark. He was called up for the first time in 2009, and has played briefly in the majors each of the last three seasons; in 181 career plate appearances he has hit .284/.331/.450, with five homers.
I really don’t know about this one. Francisco meets the Braves’ needs in that he is a third baseman and they need one to play part-time this year and full-time starting next. But what he brings to the table is lefthanded power, which is the Braves’ biggest offensive strength (McCann, Heyward, Freeman). And last year, at any rate, they had trouble getting on base, and that’s not something Francisco helps at all.
Defensively, Francisco has a strong arm and good tools, but conditioning problems (he apparently reported something like 20 pounds overweight this spring) have made him questionable at the position.