The defending National League Central champions are on the mend at third base, as their starter, and cleanup hitter, Scott Rolen is on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. Rolen has been on the disabled list since April 21, but has yet to resume baseball activities, and is out indefinitely. Considering he had a shoulder injury that shelved him over the summer in 2010, it’s anyone’s guess as to how long indefinitely will stretch. Enter this week’s sleeper as a potential source of power at the hot corner.
Currently on the disabled list himself, Juan Francisco has reported to Triple-A affiliate Louisville and is beginning a rehab assignment this week. He likely won’t need much time to get back up to speed, and should be summoned by the Reds in short order. With less than exciting options in Miguel Cairo and Chris Valaika seeing time for the parent club, Francisco will have an opportunity to see a significant amount of playing time once he’s activated. While he has his share of shortcomings, such as difficulty fielding his position, an allergy to ball four and a higher than ideal strikeout rate, his raw power is not one of them. His write-up in The 2011 Baseball America Prospect Handbook describes him as having 30-home run potential. John Sickels also notes Francisco’s power as being legitimate. Unlike some players with solid raw power, Francisco’s doesn’t just show up in batting practice, as he’s had success launching balls out of the yard at each minor league stop, including hitting 18 home runs in just 308 at bats in the International League last season. Francisco profiles as a speculative option for power starved owners in deep mixed leagues using a corner infield position, or NL-only formats. As mentioned above, Francisco is currently on the disabled list, so those in leagues that utilize disabled list roster spots have the added benefit of stashing him now, while not sacrificing an active roster spot.
Josh is a recent college graduate from SUNY Cortland where he majored in Sport Management. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe Forums where he posts as B-Chad.
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