This week Dan Szymborski had a piece at ESPN.com (Insider Only) in which he told about just how close the AL East is now expected to be, based on the ZiPS projection system. As of yesterday morning, he explained, “ZiPS projects four of the five teams in the AL East to have a mean projection of finishing at 83 wins, with Toronto only a couple of games back.”

“Now,” he continued, “that doesn’t mean that 84 wins will win the AL East; it just means that, according to the projections, no single team in the division is more likely to finish with more than 84 games than not. In other words, the AL East isn’t likely to come down to who has the most talented team, but simply luck and which of the very evenly matched teams play above their expectations.”

So how can a team do that? There are all kinds of variables at play in this, but on a very basic level, one way for a team to play above what the projection system can register is to have a players come out of nowhere, to make a change, or to simply have something click in a way that it couldn’t be foreseen by any mere assessment of his track record — and in case you haven’t noticed, the Jays may genuinely have some of those.

Without a doubt, Drew Hutchison could be one, but 2014 has also been going swimmingly so far for a player whose grip on a contributing role may loosen this week — provided Adam Lind comes back on Thursday, as expected, and Brett Lawrie doesn’t wind up on the shelf — and that, of course, is Juan Francisco.

And Francisco really could play above the expectations/projections if he continues taking walks at the highest rate of his career, I think.

But can he?

Well, his swing rate at pitches outside the strike zone is way down from any other point in his career, which might suggest he’s legitimately doing something different with his approach, but while I know that overall swing rate stabilizes fairly early, I can’t find anything that says that particular split does, and I don’t have much reason to believe it would. A much-cited 2007 study from Russell Carlton that’s now available at FanGraphs says that walk rate itself stabilizes around 200 plate appearances. However, an updated version in 2011, from Derrick Carty of Baseball Prospectus, suggested it’s actually around 170 PA.

Francisco is at 64 PA for the season so far — he’ll need to get regular at-bats for a month to get to that 170 PA mark where his walk rate will be stable enough to start believing in. To understand how much it can fluctuate still, Francisco failed to draw a walk in five plate appearances on Tuesday night, dropping his rate for the year from 13.6% to 12.5% — a still-impressive number, and well above his 7.5% rate over 830 career plate appearances in the bigs. Is it for real? I wish I could say yes, but obviously we need more data.

Still, though, just for fun let’s experiment with some quick and dirty math:

Based on 687 PA in the majors from 2011 to 2013, I think you could argue — or at least conservatively estimate — that we have a fairly good idea of who the 26-year-old Francisco is. In each of the separate season samples within that span his ISO, BABIP, and slash stats are reasonably close. They’re not perfectly aligned, and there are variations in things like his batted ball data and aspects of his plate discipline. No, we’re not talking about a whole lot of plate appearances, either, I know, but that’s why this is quick and dirty (well, that plus the absence of platoon splits, too, among other reasons).

This year his BABIP and ISO are well above where he was at in those years, and Carleton’s study indicates they’re still way unstable — we can definitely expect regression there (or at least in terms of BABIP, because there’s definitely big power in his bat) — so I don’t think we can look at those as newfound skills. However, if we just do something that’s practically conservative and simply apply the “new” walk rate to the guy he was before — as represented by the 2013 season, in which he hit .227/.296/.422 with 18 home runs over 385 PA — we see why it might be reasonable that the Jays are high on him beyond their simply riding the hot hand.

Francisco walked 32 times over 385 PA last year (8.3%), but if you change that rate to the current 12.5% (which, of course, you totally can’t do — but, damn it, we’re doing it anyway!) that would make 48 walks. That would move his .296 OBP up to a much more respectable .324. It would take his utterly average wOBA from .313 (league average in 2013 was .314) up to .344 — a rate that would have ranked him among the top 55 of 140 qualified hitters, had he maintained it for enough plate appearances to be eligible for the batting title.

For perspective, that’s even with Jay Bruce and Starling Marte — both of whom actually provide defensive value, let’s not forget — and ahead of guys like Kendrys Morales, Victor Martinez, Chris Carter, Nick Swisher, Ben Zobrist, Ian Kinsler, Pablo Sandoval, Anthony Rizzo, and Mark Trumbo. Adam Lind’s mark was .368 — though, let’s also not forget that wOBA isn’t park adjusted.

Is my putting Francisco’s name in this kind of company based on a gigantic leap powered by seriously fuzzy math? Entirely! But does it also highlight what the Jays might have here if he can continue to show the kind of plate discipline he’s displayed so far? I think it might.

Thing is, not only does he need to keep showing he’s figured out how to take a walk before we can feel like he’s proving his worth, he’s got to get the opportunities to show it. Those may be few and far between for a while, but maybe that’s alright. He hasn’t shown enough at the plate to play ahead of Adam Lind, and thoughts of his defence at third base — especially on turf — are scary indeed. But he’s shown enough this month, and in the preceding years, that the Jays really ought to keep him around and get him as much playing time as they reasonably can, with a view to a possible future with the club, provided he can keep it up.

OK, so approaching it that way wouldn’t necessarily make for some kind of monstrous projection-busting season, but he’ll get at least some chances, and the more he shows that he can keep taking a walk — assuming, y’know, that he can — the more frequently those should come.

I can admit that, while I originally scoffed — mostly because of all the talk of Francisco being a potential Bautista- or Encarnacion-like diamond in the rough — at the idea of expecting anything more than the league-average, no defence, high power, high strikeout guy his track record has shown him to be (not to mention his redundancy on this roster), the Jays probably really do need to see where this goes. Of course, with the way this club struggles to stay healthy sometimes, and Brett Lawrie still ailing, they’re not necessarily going to have a choice to do otherwise.

Comments (106)

  1. I prefer to have a fat guy playing third base anyway, just feels right

  2. I think it’s great to keep him on the bench…it’s too bad he doesn’t hit right handed, but can’t win em all…anyway, keeping him there takes away at bats from a black hole at 2nd base late in close game. Also, he can fill in whenever Lawrie, Lind, or EE get hurt/need a day off. That’s a 3rd of the line-up….They can get Francisco plenty of ABs if they want to.

    I think they need to go back to a 4 man bench though.

    • 4 man bench for sure. A bullpen of Santos-Janssen-Wagner-Stroman-Loup-Cecil-Delabar would be so damn ideal… and, if Happ or McGowan falter, swap one with Stroman. Bench of Thole, Tolleson, Gose, Francisco is alright too (looks a damn sight better than Diaz, Sierra, Thole, that’s for sure).

      Good team, guys. I’m just frustrated that we’d be in first place if it weren’t for some epic collapses as of late. But, we’re bound to get some better luck soon.

    • If the Jays were willing to give Arensuckia and his career .256 OBP lots or rope over the past few years, I don’t know why they wouldn’t give Francisco a chance. We need the power off the bench.

  3. He’s started twice in the past week against lefties, which probably shouldn’t continue. And though he’s played good defence so far, I’m a little worried what might happen if he gets an extended look at third. But he’s definitely intriguing as a bench bat.

    • Regardless where you play him or if he becomes a bench piece, Juan Feancisco has earned a spot on the active 25 man roster.

      No way he can be sent back to AAA and clear waivers. Some other team will claim him

      Some have said that Juan might pull off a Bautista or an Encarnacion and find a resurgence as a Blue Jay.

      Way too fucking soon for that.

      Let’s enjoy the Juan Francisco train ride while it lasts

  4. hey remember when i suggested keeping our new Juan, saying he had more value than a diaz or a goins and you called me dumb?

    • opinions can change, dummy

      • +1

        i did a 180 on rasmus, altho i would like to see him strikeout a little less often…

      • the classic DJF fans response,
        i wasn’t wrong, because at the time my logic was correct, the fact i’ve now been proven wrong suggests the facts have changed, therefore registering my initial opinion and my new one correct.

        • no it’s just that nobody cares, do you need everyone to acknowledge that you were right? i assume you’ll be coming back and asking for forgiveness if francisco starts sucking again

          • they care so little they spend all their team on a blog.
            solid point

          • also, even with Juan, they’re going to need at least 2 guys in the mold of diaz/goins on this team, soooo…

            • yeah every bench has at least two utility infielders,
              another great point,
              they just need more roster versatility, if lawrie is cool with sliding to 2nd when its necessary, i dont see why carrying two .100 hitters is a good idea.

              • One of them has to actually play 2nd base and one is on the bench. Lawrie’s not cool with sliding over every other day, he said that a couple days ago. What’s with all the sarcasm lol

        • David, for fuck sakes. You’re pretending you had some kind of magic insight when the reality is it *was* dumb, and it *will* again be dumb if he can’t keep the walk rate up and continues to be the guy he was when he got here: a big power, no OBP hitter that evens out to about league average and has no position on the diamond.

          What the piece is saying is, let’s see if he can keep doing this — if he can do something to show that he’s anywhere close to as good as he’s looked so far, which is far from established. Yet you’re acting like this is a victory for you when you said this based on nothing but a dumb hunch? Be serious. You weren’t right then just because it looks now like there’s the possibility that you might have been right.

          Was I wrong for dismissing him, though? Yes, definitely.

          • relax,
            i just like a little thunder off the bench.
            i dont think he’s a starter, but if the jays can ride it for a while, why the fuck not.
            I also thought Sierra was going to be a stud, so i’m not that insightful.

            • Sierra had over .800 OPS last year didn’t he? And we’ve let him go based on random at-bats, less than 50 total.

              I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him work out as an average, low cost fielder.

              • Sierra was pretty good over 35 games, after being garbage in Buffalo all year.

                His too was a big BB% spike, which looks like it was pretty meaningless now. Francisco at least seems to be improving in this regard over time, though we ought to still be pretty skeptical that he can show it’s for real.

                • I hate when you guys look at stats as a whole and forget to look at adjustments and the stats the occur as a result of them. Sierra changed is whole approach down to his stance and even keeping both hands on the bat during follow through. After this he tore up buffalo and then tore up toronto. Guy just needs at bats.

                  • Um his stats in buffalo were not that good in 2013

                    .261 .309 .422 slash lines equals a 103 WRC+

                    That slash line screams mediocrity.

                  • I hope he does. He looked fuckawful at the plate when he got D’d FA, though, so he’ll have to turn it around in Chicago instead. And I don’t have a problem with that.

  5. “Fat guys who take walks” doesn’t have the same ring to it

  6. this team is starting to get a little swagger. 6 starters all from the same caribbean island cannot hurt the teams mojo. and this division is up for grabs. this could get interesting..

  7. I am a big fan and I agree they can’t cut him lose, but where does he get his ABs?

    Lind doesn’t need any additional days off as he shouldn’t start against LHP to begin with. EE might need a day off once every two or three weeks.

    Francisco doesn’t have a BB or hit against LHP hits year, so really you would only use him to against RHP late in a game. Looking at they Jays lineup when would he ever be the better PH option over their current RHBs? For the RHB 2B we don’t have? or the RHB DH we don’t have.

    It’s frustrating because I think he could be as useful as Lind one day. But you really only have room for one guy who can only hit RHP and can’t provide speed or defense.

    Would love to see them find a team that has a similar player who is a RHB, but I don’t see that guy out there and available.

    • I think you can get him at bats pinch hitting him for the 2B late in close games, as well as giving days off to EE/Lind/Lawrie…also if any of those guys get hurt, you’ve got a solid replacement. He does too many things right and covers a lot of possible issues with the team going forward to let him go, IMO.

      • Let’s not go nuts.

        • I’m just trying to think of situations where he won’t rot away on the bench, I think they can definitely find some time for him. It won’t be the easiest, but I wouldn’t risk letting go of him. I think he’s more of an .800 OPS upside kind of guy than anything .850+, so I’m not saying he’s a superstar…just think they could use him.

          I think they’d have to go with a 4 man bench again though, which might be tough with the long stretch of games coming up.

          ahh who knows, glad I don’t have to make the decisions

      • As someone said above, Lind shouldn’t need days off since he doesn’t/shouldn’t face lefties.

        EE and Lind have that time share, so maybe EE gets the odd day off every couple of weeks or so.

        I guess you could give Lawrie the odd day off. But with that we’re talking about a handful of starts every month, and maybe some pinch hitting late in games.

        Having said that, I wouldn’t want to give him up at this moment, and things can change quickly with injuries.

        I think you can carry him as long as it’s a 4 man bench.

  8. Could he end up being a much cheaper option than Lind at DH next year, and allow the team to focus cash on other much needed improvements?

    • LInd/Goins/ for Neil Walker

      • why in the world would Pittsburgh do that? They just traded for Ike Davis and Walker is under control until 2017.

    • Let’s not get too crazy here. Lind has been hitting at the same elite level that Francisco is doing right now for much longer than 64 PAs.

      He could easily turn back into a pumpkin.

      • I just want a real second baseman so bad,
        Ike Davis has been a dud so far,
        Lind has an option left, a really reasonable one, and NL teams have a bigger need for Pinch hit threats.

        • He actually has two options beut yeah I get it.

        • That the option is reasonable is precisely why the Jays should take it. This team has a window of contention that seems to be closing rather quickly. Best to hang on to their best, established hitters rather than rolling the dice on a journeyman sustaining success way above his career norms.

          Let’s not forget Lind had the 12th best wRC+ against RHP in all of baseball last year. That’s hard to replace.

          • If Pittsburg or any team bites on a Lind trade for a decent second basemen, I say do it.

            Yeah sure we lose the Vs RHP production, but we open up the DH spot to those that may need a day of rest.

            Plus an actual 2nd baseman, giving us easy returns at the position.

            But obviously I don’t see anyone biting.

            Lind’s got chronic back problems and must be platooned, he’s not exactly cheap either.

      • Yep I was basing this off of him sustaining something close to this for the rest of the year. Lind at 7.5 isn’t too much, but if you can get the same production from Francisco at say 2.5, that 5 mil could address a starting 2B or a couple of vet BP arms.

  9. I think that if guys like Bautista and Encarnacion can continue to avoid swinging at pitches out of the zone, they’ll provide an awesome example for Francisco to emulate. I don’t think its an accident that he’s being more selective.

    I’m sure that having a guy like Seitzer around can’t hurt either…he’s got the power – if he can learn the plate discipline, we may have a nice piece (let’s not go trading Lind yet, though).

    • Yeah, working with guys like EE and Bats who have made adjustments to greatly improve their approach bode well for Frankie. And Seitzer preaches patience so it could actually,possibly,maybe be more then just an outlier.

      Here’s hoping.

      • I really don’t get this kind of stuff — and you’re not the only one saying it. If it was that easy, there would be ridiculously patient hitters all through this organization. What those two guys do is pretty special.

        • Maybe Colby just can’t understand their English and they sure as shit can’t understand his.

          Yep. That’s probably it.

        • I simply meant that there are examples of guys that have vastly improved an arms length away. That doesn’t mean anything but it can’t hurt. That they speak the same language and call the same place home can also be helpful. A large contingent of Domincan guys can help him be more comfortable. None of which equates to skill improvement, more I’d say it equates to a comfortable enviroment where if he’s struggling or has questions then he’s got a couple of great mentors who speak his language.

          • Can’t be that hard to communicate?

            no el swing en el deslizador hacia abajo y lejos

        • I think that this is a fairly recent development, no? Wasn’t Dwayne Murphy the “grip and rip on the first fastball strike you see” guy?

          And Mattola was basically de-nutted the minute they didn’t get rid of Murphy, so I’m not sure what was going on there…

          • I think Cito and Dwayne were a part of the “Be aggressive and don’t let the pitcher think he has any free pitches at you – you aren’t waiting on nothing – school” in order to try to rattle the guy. On the contrary I think a decade by went where the BoSox never swung a single first pitch ever.

  10. Here’s something I see as an interesting split, and it makes me wonder about the effect of hitting coaches and playing in different systems (and, of course, about how real his change might be):

    In 501 PAs with the Reds and Braves, Francisco had a walk rate of 5.8%. In 334 PAs since being traded to the Brewers on June 3, 2013, his rate is 9.9%. It’s not as impressive as the 12.5% rate he’s shown this year, but it’s a huge change, and it would make sense that a change like that (moving to a new organization) could impact the approach and development of a young player (he was still only 25 when that trade happened).

    • Interesting.

    • The improvement you cited is further confirmed by his Winter Ball numbers this year and last…


    • I don’t know about the Reds, but don’t forget that the Braves is one of the most free-swinging teams ever (Uggla, Upton brothers, Heyward, etc.) so there may have been an organizational hitting approach that Francisco followed which resulted in a low BB%.

      That might be why he’s showing a significant difference in his BB% so that combined with hanging around with Bautista/EE might result in a permanent higher BB% to come.

  11. Not really related to his walk rate, which is the point of the article, but: http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2014_637&type=hitter

    Fat Juan’s 3 home runs have averaged 444.7 feet in true distance, with an average launch speed of 112.1 mph. The 444.7 feet leads all hitters with 3 or more HR — Ian Desmond is a distant second at 430.0 feet.

    As a comparison, Jose Bautista has averaged 404.4 feet and 105.5 mph on his 9 blasts.

    Fat Juan’s got some muscle.

  12. Can’t wait to see Fat Juan hit a walk off homer in the wild card game.

  13. This is perhaps your best post Title since the Goins/Gets masterpiece.

  14. Seitzer is rumored to be a big pre-AB prep guy, maybe that’s really benefiting Juan

  15. Certainly there are warts. They are fairly well know by now in his career though we should all keep in mind that opportunity can play a huge role in an MLB player’s careeer. I think that many in the game also see that Juan can hit. The question is whether he can make enough of a change to his approach to get on base enough to be a real contributor. You’ve made a great case that for the time being he’s doing the right things. I thin whether he can keep it up will depend on what he can learn from the guys directly around him in that dugout.

    Look at the success of Bautista, Encarnacion and Lind. I think most of us would agree that the single most important success factor that they all learned was that to be a really good hitter they needed better plate discipline. K’s will happen, but all 3 of those guys take walks. Encarnacion had a higher percentage of walks than strikeouts in 2013. Bautista is over 20% BB rate right now. Swing at strikes. Leave the rest.

    I’m no Nostradamus but if there is a place in the game where Fransisco can learn to be a more complete player its in a clubhouse with guys like Bautista, EE, Lind, Melky etc. Couple that with a guy like Seitzer who seems to preach patience at the plate and it could very well happen.

  16. Reyes

    Forgetting defense…. I don’t think you can make a better offensive lineup in the game.

  17. Can we all just recognize the Scott McKenzie reference right off the top?
    Stoeten’s goin’ all Psychedelic Psunday on us.
    Well done sir.

  18. Kind of funny that Sierra went 4-4 with the ChiSox last night.

  19. Stoeten has already decided that he knows who francisco is after a measly 800 ab’s. So that means we know who brett lawrie is too since he has 1200 ab’s right? fuck do you know how many players have improved after such a small sample. Ever heard of edwin? took him 3000 ab’s he had back to back years of .300 obp before breaking out. Does it even matter. Trumbo has a career sub .300 obp but jacks 30 hr a year so who cares?

    • The article specifically concludes we don’t know anything from 64 plate appearances, but it makes sense to see how it plays out because there are positive signs besides a babip spike.

    • Someone didn’t read the article.

  20. Even if Fransisco’s walk rate drops to his career norm, 7.5% is still a good walk rate. His strikeout rates are insane, even if they’re actually an improvement over his career norm. I don’t see his walk rates remaining this high, but it’s hard to argue with a guy who could still have a .340-350 OBP.

    Another topic should be his batting average. While I’m personally not crazy about talking about it as if it’s some glorious stat on it’s own like some (*cough* Buck and Pat *cough*), it’s currently 30+ points higher than his career average. Is this sustainable? It’s hard to think it is, but I’m pulling out hope.

  21. Totally off topic but an interesting development heading into next months draft.


    Could be a good target for an underslot deal at 11.

  22. I must say, the title of the article is superb. If Buck and Tabby had 1/10th the word-smithing skills seen here, the broadcast might be tolerable.

    Are there any legal issues stopping you guys (by you guys I mean the podcast team) from doing a live podcast during the game. I would much rather listen to the ramblings about Popeyes than the ramblings of Tabler and his constant use of the phrase “reach back for a little something extra”.

    • I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that MLB broadcast rights are sold with the proviso that other “networks” can’t discuss plays as they happen. It’s conceivable that there could be a podcast that discussed a previous inning (maybe), but there certainly couldn’t be one that yelled “BRAWK” right after an Encarnacion bomb…

    • No disrespect intended to Stoeten or Drew here…… But I think play by play is a hell of a lot harder in real life than it is in our heads.

      I did some pro bono charity work on a radio station in the past. It’s amazing how quickly you run out of things to say.

      Buck and Tabby may not be the best…… But I tend to give them a little slack.

      • You make a good point about how easy it is to run out of things to say. I just feel that I would rather listen to the DJF guys fill the awkward silences with their banter than listen to Tabby repeat the same lines over and over again. Everyone runs out of things to say, its what happens next that separates the good from the bad.

        I don’t know if you play MLB The Show, but my wife hates that game. After about 20 games into the season, you really start noticing the announcers repeating themselves. The same thing happens with Tabby, only in real life. I just feel he doesn’t prepare anything for the game. He just watches the play and repeats the same old schtick over and over again. He is like an old wooden doll with the string coming out of his back.

        • Awesome name SS cannon. I’d personally love to watch a game without announcers-just game sounds. I saw an Aussie Open match featuring either Milos or Bouchard without announcers and it was AWESOME. Those two turds keep talking like no one in Canada knows anything about baseball. Buck, you’re not Vin Scully, you have a partner. STFU!

  23. If Francisco is 26 doesn’t that mean he hasn’t even entered his prime yet? If nothing else maybe showcasing him for a month isn’t a bad idea. Then trade him for a baseman. He costs the jays 1.35m right now. Basically got him for nothing

    • He’s gonna need a hell of a month to create any trade value.

      I’m talking video game numbers.

      As in it will never happen.

  24. if dioner is gimpy, why not have him dh and kratz catch?

  25. If you think about baseball like a mathematical equation (with expected value being derived from the culmination of a player’s offensive and defensive contributions/weakness), then why can’t Juan Francisco be the every-day third baseman? He is WAY more productive offensively than any of our other 2nd base candidates. Is Brett Lawrie such a step down defensively from our 2nd base options, and is Juan Francisco such a step down from Brett Lawrie at 3rd base, that the HUGE gap in offensive productivity from Jonathan Diaz, Tolleson, Kawasaki, etc, and Francisco isn’t significant enough to provide more value than the current, more defensively sound option of Lawrie + (Tolleson, Kawasaki, whoever)? Personally, I think that against right-handers, the right decision is a no-brainer, but I’d love to see a mathematical analysis of the overall values of the players involved to see if it makes sense to play Francisco at 3rd base. I DO NOT think that it’s necessarily true that him playing at 3rd base everyday would make him less valuable to our current team than him playing off of the bench would.

    • sorry if my comment is scatterbrained, I don’t know how to edit my post and I didn’t mean to click ‘Post Comment’, I wanted to edit my comment more.

      • Yup once you hit ‘Post Comment’ you are part of interweb history. The point of no return, if you will.

    • Your question brings into play the different versions of WAR and their inherent valuations of defence and their positional adjustments. I certainly don’t know the numbers to answer your question. I would say that if the defence were severely compromised by the IF realignment, that may also spell additional problems for a rotation that may be overly reliant on GB%. There are a ton of variables, and I think it would be hard to calculate accurately on the fly because of the way the defensive component of WAR is calculated.

      I’d also add that there is probably something that cannot be as easily calculated that factors in player discomfort. Does Lawrie not wanting to move to 2B affect his play? We don’t know. But not knowing doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. It’s difficult to factor in the mental aspect in a statistical way because it can’t be precisely calculated.

      • An example from Twitter:

        Mike Cormack ‏@MikeCormack 7h
        Bautista: .302.464/.595/, 9 HR, 28 R, 34 BB, 22 K
        Napoli: .288/.415/.477, 5 HR, 13 R, 22 BB, 33 K
        Both: 1.3 WAR (BR).
        Come again?

      • I mean, I think that it’s worth an experiment. I think that giving Francisco that opportunity would build enough of a sample size that his walk rate might normalize somewhat which is needed to understand his true offensive value, and with a larger sample at 2nd base for Lawrie, we can see if he performs in a similar way offensively (although he’s so streaky that I don’t know if you could truly learn anything), and also the defensive viability of Lawrie at 2nd and Francisco at 3rd can be studied A LITTLE BIT more. Look, to be blunt, I think that we have a couple of absolute shitbags playing at 2nd currently, and the offensive potential of Lawrie+Francisco in the lineup is monumentally more promising than Lawrie+Any-current-2B candidate, any opportunity to minimize the playing time of Tolleson, Diaz, Goins and Kawasaki is an opportunity worth exploring..

  26. If Francisco continues to put hard work into playing 3B on top of the spot duty stuff at 1B,
    he’ll be invaluable to the team. He has to prove that his bat can stay productive and consistent for more than just one month. This Birds lineup has endless potential.

    Reyes SS
    Cabrera CF
    Bautista RF
    Encarnacion !B
    Lind DH
    Lawrie 2B
    Francisco 3B
    Rasmus CF
    Navarro C

  27. Juanny Franchise is awesome but he still can’t hit LHP for shit. Could be a cheap replacement for the more expensive and often injured Lindy Boy looking beyond 2014 though. But things are going to have to get weird to keep them both on the 25 man once Lind comes back I think.

    • If we lose Juany, in order to allow AA to save face on the Rogers/Gomes deal, I swear to fuck I will show up at Blue Jays Way with my favourite Louisville Slugger and let AA autograph it with his jaw!

    • Give him a chance. The only way to see if he can hit lefties is to put him in there against them. Consistently, not sparingly. I would think that Lind and Francisco would get focused left handed batting work with Buehrle, Cecil and Loup taking turns on the mound in practice.

  28. The guy is a bench bat, nothing more

  29. Bench bat? Francisco just took one of the best lefties in the majors out of the yard on a line drive with a free and easy swing. What really impresses me is that he didn’t use nowhere near all of his power. Keep working him at 3B as well as the odd spots at 1B. I can’t see nothing but good things happening for this team the more he gets work at the corner infield positions. His bat stays in the lineup more often when he can play the field. Lind is the backup at 1B to EE and the primary DH on this team.

  30. Francisco, that’s fun to say…

  31. Really is it so bad to keep some depth for our corner/DH spots? One of these is often injured, and having a late inning left handed bat off the bench isn’t the worst thing.

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  33. […] Wednesday, both Nick Ashbourne of Bluebird Banter and Andrew Stoeten of DJF tried to see if Juan Francisco is for real. He’s currently sporting a ridiculous .276/.368/.534 […]

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