2012 Reds

Report: Juan Francisco traded to Braves (Updated)

Mark Sheldon is reporting that Juan Francisco has been traded to the Atlanta Braves for minor league pitcher J.J. Hoover.

Hoover, 24, went 25-19 with a 3.14 ERA in 99 appearances, including 61 starts, over four years (2008 to 2011) in the Braves farm system.

Barring a second trade, this should solidify Todd Frazier’s spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

UPDATE: The Reds have tweeted confirmation of the trade. John Sickels published an in-depth report on Hoover last September.

For most teams, Hoover would profile as a solid number three or four starter, chewing up innings at a good clip with consistent performance. But the Braves see Hoover’s path to the majors as clearing more quickly in the bullpen, and it is hard to argue with the results so far: he’s been outstanding in that role in Triple-A. He’s been named as one of Atlanta’s representatives in the Arizona Fall League, one of the last stepping stones to the majors, and should compete for a relief job on the big league staff in 2012.

Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus had Hoover as the #13 prospect in the Braves very deep system. Marc Hulet of FanGraphs also rated Hoover as the Braves #13 prospect:

13. J.J. Hoover, RHP: Hoover doesn’t have the same power arsenal that other pitchers at the top of this list possess but he knows how to pitch and has had success at the both double-A and triple-A (albeit in a small sample size). Hoover split the year between the starting rotation and the bullpen but has the potential to be a solid No. 4 starter at the big league level. With some higher profile arms in the system, though, he could end up as a big league league swing man if he sticks with Atlanta.

Sounds like Hoover offers the Reds some organizational depth as a starter and may also provide short term help in the bullpen. He was assigned to Louisville.

Some in Atlanta are speculating that Francisco may start immediately for the Braves at 3B while Chipper Jones is recovering from surgery. That would surprise me as the Braves have been playing Martin Prado at 3B and he has been hitting well this spring.

43 thoughts on “Report: Juan Francisco traded to Braves (Updated)

  1. I know I am in the minority here . But I liked Juan . He had his shot this spring and really did not take advantage. His fielding has improved and the man can hit , and he is not just a Wily Mo Pena clone .. I wish him well with the Braves . Does he become Chipper’s replacement ?

  2. Love this. Seems to be a decent pitcher that we could use late this year or next year and now we get to see Frazier.

    • Love this. Seems to be a decent pitcher that we could use late this year or next year and now we get to see Frazier.

      While I don’t think he is a Wily Mo clone in the sense that they both had struggles for the same reason, he might be a Wily Mo clone in terms of overall results. Until Francisco can go out and have anything resembling what Wily Mo did from 2004-2007 (that would be an .810 OPS over 1300 MLB at bats), then I think you are really selling Wily Mo short. If Francisco has the type of career at the plate that Wily Mo has, it will be a success.

  3. Francisco was just another Edwin Encarnacion. nothing all that special. Interesting bit from a Braves blog though – they said Hoover might be converted to a setup man. He’s done pretty well at the minor league level, but I don’t think we were really in the hunt for another contender for the rotation unless it’s injury insurance. Could this mean Chapman stays in the rotation and Marshall gets the closer job? Tune in next week, same Dusty time, same Dusty channel…

  4. So either there is another move to acquire a LH hitter for the bench or Willie Harris has made the club. So I’m still not sold that Frazier has made the roster yet. Cairo is a lock, and one of Valdez/Janish will be kept for SS.

  5. Frazier has been playing OF in Goodyear and the Reds need a fifth OF on the roster. Absent an additional move, this seems to clear the way for Frazier to be the swing OF/IF. Frazier had been outperforming Francisco, but the latter had no options left. I’m glad Walt was able to make a move that enables the Reds to bring the best team to Cincinnati without having to release a player.

  6. Harris and Valdez can both be swing OF as well, not to mention Cairo has been seen out there before also. I really want to see Frazier as well, but I just don’t see where he is a fit yet.

  7. Hoover is likely a top 6 or 7 prospect for the Reds. Maybe even top 5 post-Latos trade. It’s an excellent return for Francisco, though any trade involving Juan Francisco is high-risk given his upside. It’s a pretty good trade for both teams.

    I bet the happiest man in the Reds’ locker room is Todd Frazier.

    • Hoover is likely a top 6 or 7 prospect for the Reds.Maybe even top 5 post-Latos trade.It’s an excellent return for Francisco, though any trade involving Juan Francisco is high-risk given his upside.It’s a pretty good trade for both teams.

      I bet the happiest man in the Reds’ locker room is Todd Frazier.

      Hoover wouldn’t crack my Reds Top 15. Being a reliever and all who can’t be a closer hurts his prospect value.

  8. I’m mixed on this too. I’m afraid that Francisco would have shined if Rolen goes down. On the other hand you can’t have enough pitching. But, I’m always leery of Braves pitching as they seem to keep the best and trade the rest.

  9. Willie Harris has a career split against RHP of .245/.333/.355. The guy is just OF depth in an organization with extremely limited resources at the AAA level. If they keep him over Frazier purely because Harris is lefty hitter, they are crazy.

    A trade is always a possibility though. Could definitely see a deal involving Bailey and Janish being made.

    • If they keep him over Frazier purely because Harris is lefty hitter, they are crazy.

      Which is exactly why I can see it happening. :)

      I can just see them drooling all over Harris’ LH versatile veteraness right now.

  10. I’m taking this move as Walt has a plan and is sticking to it. #1 – upgrade the pitching. #2 – build a deep,strong bullpen. #3 – develop Chapman as a starter.

  11. With the way Jeff Fischer has been pitching this spring, you have to like the depth we have with potential starting arms right now. Even if Leake needs a little time in Louisville to start the year, and assuming Arroyo bounces back, we now have at least 7 or 8 guys who could conceivably at least spot start for the big club as early as June. And the flexibility it gives us with the bullpen should really negate the void left by Madson. Good thing we don’t have some crazy manager like Dusty Baker handling all these arms. That could be a trainwreck.

  12. Heads up: The Reds game is on the MLB Network today at 4p.m. They are playing the White Sox. Mat Latos is pitching. Most of the position player regulars are also in the lineup. Frazier at 3B. Votto and Bruce hitting back-to-back (for the first time this spring?). Definitely worth a watch if you have a chance.

  13. Walt maybe waiting for last minute DFA’s to see if a LH bat opens up. Still, other team’s castoffs? Really? Maybe there’s another deal on the horizon as we can’t be the only ones to see that there’s a gaping hole for LH bat to come off the bench.

  14. Some Hoover prospect analysis from the BBA Braves top 10 prospect chat which requires subscription I believe:

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2012/2612557.html

    Jesse (AZ): Bill, what are you hearing about JJ Hoover in light of his move to the bullpen? Short path to the majors, or better fit longer term?

    Bill Ballew: Both. Scouts are mixed on Hoover’s ceiling. I think it’s higher than many believe. His body may not get a lot better, but he competes very well and was throwing four pitches for strikes as a starter at Mississippi in 2011 before shifting to relieve. He mixed his slider and fastball with aplomb as a reliever and dominated more experienced hitters in the International League. He would prefer to start but is happy to relieve if it means making the big leagues. If I were another team with needs in both starting and relief pitching, I would be interested in acquiring Hoover in order to gauge where he fits best. With Atlanta, it seems like he’s on the verge of getting caught up in a numbers crunch.

  15. Hoover’s rankings/projections are all over the place. The braves have such an unusual farm system. I’m curious whether he’ll end up starting or relieving for the Reds.

    • Hoover’s rankings/projections are all over the place.The braves have such an unusual farm system.I’m curious whether he’ll end up starting or relieving for the Reds.

      Relieving, assuming that Dusty knows something. He said it was a good move to help out with future bullpen help.

  16. I like this. Having Francisco on the 25 man roster would probably have left Frazier off, at least when the Reds go to 12 pitchers. Francisco has higher upside but Frazier is the more solid (and versatile of course) player right now.

    I’m glad the Reds got a pitching prospect in return. I don’t think they could have gotten a better one. I expect he’ll add depth to the bullpen at some point this season.

  17. I never thought much of Francisco, so I love the trade. I saw him as Randall Simon with better power. Now, that’s not totally useless, but it is the kind of player that Dusty tends to overuse, and who personally frustrates me. Sortof like an inverse Adam Dunn.

    I tended to treat JF the same way others treated Dunn – focusing on what he can’t do, as opposed to what he could. Nevertheless, I don’t see JF being a productive full time player in the majors.

  18. I’m surprised nothing is being said about Brandon Phillips in this thread. Walt said by opening day it would be figured out. There’s what, five days until? He gets traded, resigned or nothing. Interesting couple of days coming up.

    • I’m surprised nothing is being said about Brandon Phillips in this thread. Walt said by opening day it would be figured out. There’s what, five days until? He gets traded, resigned or nothing. Interesting couple of days coming up.

      I have never expected the Reds to bring Phillips back. He wants a lot more than the Reds want to pay him. Both sides have good arguments. Phillips deserves to get paid. The Reds can’t afford to pay a declining second baseman (assuming he will decline, as nearly all 30+ year olds do).

  19. I was listening to the Braves broadcast today and their GM came on in the bottom of the 6th to discuss the trade. It was an interesting conversation. He basically said they have been persuing Francisco for a couple of years – he sees him as having a lot of upside (Ryan Howard like in his swinging and power). Another interesting comment was he said Walt said someone in the division wanted Francisco but Walt didnt want to trade him there and have to face him 18 times a year in case he lived up to all the potential.

    For those interested its worth the listen.

  20. Something else about Phillips that hasn’t been said that relates directly to Juan Francisco. Phillips was the Indian’s “Francisco”… a lot of talent but couldn’t put it together with somewhat of an attitude, not doing what they wanted, etc.

  21. I think Dusty just set up Bray to fail. Has anyone else on the Reds pitched in 3 games out of 4 days? I think he’s making a point he needs Chapman in the bullpen.

  22. @eastcoast redsfan: What the F#@&!!! I couldn’t believe what I was reading in your post so I went back and checked. Sure enough to my utter amazement and shock, you were absolutely correct. Bray first came back to action on the 23rd after straining a groin to face 6 batters in a minor league game. Then Bray pitched an inning on the 26th. Then he pitched an inning on the 29th, 31st & the 1st. There it is, three out of four days after just coming off a strained groin. That is simply so blatantly self-serving, counter-productive and dangerous that there is simply no excuse or justification.

  23. Saw something that Jeff Francis was sent to AAA on ESPN recap of the White Sox game. Chapman starting?

  24. I don’t want Chapman in the pen, but I do think the Reds need another lefty. This would all be cleared up if the Reds would give someone other than Marshall a chance to close. I really think Homer Bailey could do it, “long time to warm up” be damned. It’s just three outs, and Homer has shown when he focuses, he can dominate. It was always those lapses in concentration/judgement that undid him.

    Putting Homer in the closer role re-aligns the bullpen to be exactly the way it was before Madson went down and gives you two lefties again.

    I figure it’s worth a shot, give Homer a 10 game trial.

  25. Love the trade, love the fact that Frazier will likely make the team (but with Cairo, you never know), love that we picked up some bullpen depth. Nice job, Walt. Now let’s make sure we don’t trade Janish. My preference would be for him to make the team over Harris and Valdez, but at the very least we need to keep him in the organization. He’s a useful backup.

    Roster might be set today after they break camp. Should be interesting.

  26. @TC: If there is another pitcher in major league camp that has thrown 3 days out of 4, then I’ll agree with you. (I dont know of any others but I could have missed someone) Otherwise,I still believe it was done specifically so Dusty could lobby to have Chapman in the pen.

  27. Can he sign the contract at the Opening Day parade? That would be epic. And then Vott-oh’s cereal can rain down like confetti. Hmmmm.

  28. I love Joey Votto, but making one of the richest deals ever on this team’s budget just sounds like bad news to me.

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