Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Francisco named fantasy league 'sleeper'

Francisco is expected to push for more playing time
in 2012 behind veteran Scott Rolen senior writer Eric Karabell recently published a post highlighting four players from the National League Central who he considers to be fantasy league "sleepers" for the upcoming season (you can read the entire piece here if you wish). Among the four relatively unknown players listed includes one Cincinnati Red -- third baseman Juan Francisco.

Here's what Karabell had to say regarding the 24-year old prospect:

Juan Francisco, 3B, Cincinnati Reds: Scott Rolen is what, 62 years old? Or is that just how his body feels at this point? Francisco remains a somewhat raw prospect at age 24 and is allergic to taking walks (15 last season in 110 games!), but he boasts legit power and he's out of minor league options. Maybe he's the next Ian Stewart, hitting with power but an anchor on your batting average. That still matters in some leagues. As for Rolen, actually 36, he's only two years removed from a 20-homer season, so if he actually remains healthy don't forget him.

Although missing a month of the first part of the year due to a strained calf muscle, the left-handed slugger spent majority of the 2011 campaign in Triple-A Louisville where he posted a .307 average, 15 homers, 23 doubles and 50 RBIs. He managed to hit .258 (24-93) with 3 longballs and 15 RBIs in limited action (31 games) for the the big club.

One of those longballs hit with the Reds traveled the 2nd-furthest distance of any homer in MLB last year (according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker) -- a majestic 482-foot blast at GABP in September in which landed on the sidewalk behind the stadium and subsequently bounced into the Ohio River. Here's the video clip from that mammoth blast for your viewing pleasure:

While Cincinnati doesn't necessarily need a breakout year from Francisco in order to make it to postseason play, a strong year from the Dominican native would surely help.

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