Remember Wily Mo Pena? Check out this comment about Wily Mo from a past edition of Baseball Prospectus
Pena has a ton of power, but there’s not much else to recommend him. He won’t take walks, he struck out 442 times in 447 minor-league games, he can’t hit lefties, and, outside of a strong arm, he’s not particularly adept in the field, in part because of struggles with his weight. Still, that power is awfully alluring….
Wait…what? Oh yeah, sorry about that. The above comment is actually the note from this year’s Baseball Prospectus 2010 about this year’s non-Chapman spring training darling, Juan Francisco.
Can someone tell me what the fascination with Francisco is all about? Well, I know what it’s about; he hits the ball a long way. That’s great, I love that. Heck, my favorite Red of recent vintage was Adam Dunn. I dig the longball.
On the other hand, Francisco has walked 72 times in his entire minor league career. Yep, that covers 447 games, over which time, as noted above, Francisco has struck out 442 times. He swings at everything, and I have zero confidence that he will learn plate discipline at the major league level. No one does.
Plus, the guy is beyond brutal in the field. Maybe he can learn left field; I don’t know. I know he can’t play 3B at the minor league level, so in the bigs, he’d make Edwin Encarnacion look like a gold glover.
The power, however, is legit, and he has looked good over the last three weeks, which is why people are touting him as a platoon partner for Jonny Gomes in left field. He actually has more power than Wily Mo…but he gets on base less. Ugh. It’s not a perfect comparison, but from the Reds’ perspective, it works. And that’s today’s topic of discussion:
Juan Francisco = Wily Mo Pena. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at email@example.com.