Adjustments paying off for Francisco

Juan Francisco has made the most of filling in for Chipper Jones, hitting .288 (34-for-118) with seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 33 starts at third base. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles Wednesday night to make him 13-for-30 (.433) in his past 15 games since July 18.

Francisco is seeing the fruits of two months of intensive work with hitting coaches Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher, trying to break some bad mechanical habits.

“We, as a group, convinced him that what he was doing was not going to work, but that we never doubted his talent,” Walker said. “We knew that if he made the adjustment, he would have a chance at being a really good player.”

Walker said Francisco has been working hard to tone down his rotational motion that causes him to fly open and mistime breaking pitches. He’s been working to keep his front foot square so he has more leverage off his front leg.

“He could slow it down even more for me, but he’s working on it,” Walker said. “He does some things as good as anybody I’ve ever coached. His bottom hand is tremendous, and I think he’s learned how to swing the bat using it correctly, being more direct to the baseball.”

This is Francisco’s first full season in the majors and he’s got 151 at-bats, almost as many as his first three major league stints with the Reds combined (169 at-bats).

“This season I’ve gotten more opportunity,” Francisco said. “I have some time to get better.”

Francisco plans to play winter ball in his native Dominican Republic. He wants to shed 10-15 more pounds and come into spring training ready to compete for a bigger role.

37 comments Add your comment

Scorby911

August 16th, 2012
8:29 pm

very interesting……..

Disgusted

August 16th, 2012
8:30 pm

He is better than he was earlier in the yr and Wren made a good move to get him.

I think we might really have a player here. There are still some haters who have not given him the credit for the improvement he has made.

Brandon

August 16th, 2012
8:32 pm

Francisco is going to be a true BEAST

Mark (another one)

August 16th, 2012
9:09 pm

If this kid can lock down third and Simmons continues to develop, the question mark for next year is resigning Bourn. They also need to look at the bench but Jannis and Ross also fill two valuable rolls. We also need to get McCann back on track.

Spider29

August 16th, 2012
9:13 pm

That is great to read that Juan is working hard to get better. Also that he wants to lose weight and be ready to compete for the third base position in the spring. If he could do that, it would let the Braves keep Prado in left field. The more weapons, the better for the team.

crackbaby

August 16th, 2012
9:29 pm

Francisco has wicked power. If the coaches can get him to harness it his numbers could be huge.

Ken Stallings

August 16th, 2012
9:34 pm

I think Juan may have earned the starting third base position for next season. The Braves would then have more money to re-sign Bourn.

gothamgator

August 16th, 2012
9:39 pm

yeah, the kid has really impressed as the season has progressed. I think he’s played himself into a starting role at 3rd next year, or at least a real shot at it… which is great, as it means we may not have to go out and spend on a LF or 3B, allowing Odarp to stay in left and freeing up money to make a real run at resigning Bourne… win, win, win situation

Ted

August 16th, 2012
9:41 pm

Does anyone know if the Braves consider Francisco an option to replace Chipper as the starter next year?

I hope so. He’s cheap and we can use the money to keep Bourn. Not to mention I don’t remember the last player the Braves had who seemed like a home run threat every single time he swung the bat. An order of Bourn, Prado, Heyward, Francisco, Uggla, Freeman, McCann, Simmons could be so long and dangerous!

Alaska Braves Fan

August 16th, 2012
10:01 pm

Francisco really can be very good. His one true deficit right now is that he is eating one too many biscuits with each meal. If he drops the weight, as he says he intends to do, his effectiveness will increase quite a lot.

Not to harp on it, but for non-athletes weight issues are huge, and every aspect of our performance is harmed by excess weight. For professional athletes the effect is greatly magnified because of the work they do. Francisco simply must take care of this problem, and he must do it the right way. NO juicing, just a good diet.

ABF

eskippy

August 16th, 2012
10:23 pm

I’m very impressed with him but the Braves can’t have five left handed bats in the starting line up with two left handed pitchers. Not likely to see McCann, Bourn and Francisco starting next year but maybe a nice trade could be made.

mace224

August 16th, 2012
10:28 pm

Francisco is a Cincinatti reject. All you arm chair scouts are way off on him.

lee maye

August 16th, 2012
10:31 pm

eskippy: Braves would likely do the same thing they do this year. Francisco would not play every day against lefties and Prado or someone else could play 3B against lefties. Best move would be to move Uggla and have Prado at 2B. That would certainly clear up enough money to sign Bourn.

castle

August 16th, 2012
11:24 pm

“He wants to shed 10-15 more pounds and come into spring training ready to compete for a bigger role.”

If Juan gets himself into better shape and keeps working on his game he has a good chance to be our starting 3rd baseman next year. That’s a big ‘if’ though–he reminds me of the pre-2012 Melky that always had the talent, but never put in the work required to keep himself in shape and be a disciplined player. Here’s hoping that Juan realizes dropping 15 pounds and working his butt off on his swing and defense will give him a chance to shine in a starting role, and quite possibly equal big, big money down the road.

castle

August 16th, 2012
11:25 pm

@eskippy: there’s very little chance that Bourn’s in the lineup next year, so you’d have to think the Braves would target a right-handed replacement

VinnyD

August 17th, 2012
6:51 am

What if the talented guy does figure it out and put it all together? What if we have a .275 28 HR guy at 3B next year on our roster THIS year?

Mr. Snarky

August 17th, 2012
7:28 am

Between Big Juan, Sheets, and Janish, Wren has done a great job filling in the gaps this year. Go Braves!

a fan

August 17th, 2012
8:33 am

Snarky;
Agreed

a fan

August 17th, 2012
8:34 am

GaryinBham

August 17th, 2012
8:47 am

Thanks for this report, DOB. Been watching him of late. I liked this pickup from the get-go, despite all the negative comments some have made (but when DON’T they?). He’s not a FA until 2018, making minimum, great power, and only 25. He’s got some possibilities in front of him.

Really, Frank Wren has made some excellent moves this year. I agree with Mr. Snarky and others.

GaryinBham

August 17th, 2012
8:48 am

Sorry, Carroll! Typed DOB out of habit

jay

August 17th, 2012
9:04 am

Dude has crazy power. If he can harness the mechanics and make adjustments throughout a complete season he could be a very nice starting 3B.

Yehuda Hamer

August 17th, 2012
9:12 am

The Reds didn’t teach him all this??

Heisenberg

August 17th, 2012
9:13 am

Francisco is NOT a Reds reject. He was blocked by Scott Rolen and Braves had surplus pitching.

Yehuda Hamer

August 17th, 2012
9:30 am

Thank you Heisenberg. I did not know this.

wayn-o

August 17th, 2012
9:34 am

Combine Chipper & Francisco’s numbers & 3B has been a very productive position.

JNick

August 17th, 2012
10:44 am

I remember when the Braves traded for this guy, and I was like “Juan who?” – then I found the video of the 512 foot shot he hit OUT of the Great American Ballpark – yes, out. If you haven’t seen it yet, look it up on MLB.com or Youtube. Probably the longest HR I’ve ever seen hit. Unreal power this guy has. Can’t wait to see him get even better.

JNick

August 17th, 2012
10:46 am

Mike C.

August 17th, 2012
10:48 am

The ball jumps off his bat. Andres Thomas in the ’80s had a bat like that but he fizzled out. Hopefully, Juan will continue to improve.

Dennis

August 17th, 2012
11:40 am

I think there is merit in starting Francisco against right handers next year as well as a few left handers with Prado moving to third to play against the tougher left handers. Keep Johnson with an attractive offer and he goes to left when Prado plays third. I think Francisco can do the job, especially if he intends to get in better shape. He has improved all year and I recall a few weeks ago he actually went to left with a pitch which says he wants to learn.

Odelay

August 17th, 2012
12:12 pm

If Francisco can cover third next year, then we’d have two very athletic corner OFers in Prado and Heyward, making the need for an elite defensive CFer like Bourn less of a necessity. We could afford, defensively, at least, to pursue a less expensive option.

Brave New World

August 17th, 2012
1:34 pm

Francisco is only 25 and has crazy power. It’s not unrealistic to expect 25-30 homers and 80-100 RBI’s from him as a full time player. If he loses 10-15 pounds as he intends to, he’ll be that much quicker at 3rd base. He was a good pick up for the Braves.

lee maye

August 17th, 2012
2:46 pm

Francisco reminds of another Cincy reject, Encarnacion who is having a breakout year. Andres Thomas did not have the power of Francisco. Francisco also has a gun of an arm. Selected as the best arm at 3B in the International League list of tools last year. I have been saying all year that this guy can hit 25 HR’s 90 RBI’s given the chance. And, he will hit higher than .216 like Fredi’s 2nd baseman does.

lee maye

August 17th, 2012
2:50 pm

Assuming Braves can’t resign Bourn and can’t trade Uggla, a good option would be to have competition between Durango and Constanza for CF. Constanza hitting .320 and Durango hitting .288 with 44 SB. Speed is badly needed on the bench for Hinske anyway, so the guy who is not in CF could be the 2nd OF on bench behind Reed Johnson. And, Durango is a switchhitter.

Keith

August 17th, 2012
3:48 pm

DOB,

Thanks for finally pointing out this guy. He’s truly been a boost lately and still flying under the radar with fans. Hopefully, not anymore. Good work.

GO BRAVES! :)

montegomery goldman

August 17th, 2012
9:18 pm

Enter your comments herehason sucks he suclks satrt medlan not eavn resign him he a fagget

74bravesjersey

August 18th, 2012
8:38 am

Blogg’n in late due to the fact “Big Juan” just walked off hit last night or early ‘dis morn’n w/ a walk off clutch to beat ‘da bad boy Dodgers, it’s all pay’n off Juan, way to have that plate discipline Big Juan!

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