Juan Francisco Takes His Turn in Left Field for the Cincinnati Reds

Cliff EasthamSenior Writer IIMarch 15, 2010

SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Juan Francisco #68 of the Cincinnati Reds poses for a photo during Spring Training Photo day on February 18, 2009 at the Cincinnati Reds training facility in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Reds have Scott Rolen locked in at third base which is the normal position for power-hitting youngster Juan Francisco .

Francisco gets a crack at joining the overcrowded group battling for left field on Tuesday. He has played third base and left field in his four-year minor league career.

The man can hit home runs, that is for certain. He hit two homers on Saturday against the Cubs and is batting .267 after wearing a size-three collar today against the Oakland A's.

The 22-year-old joins Joey Votto and Jay Bruce as a power hitter from the left side of the plate.

On a possible switch to left field, Francisco said, "I feel really comfortable with it,"  with teammate Yonder Alonso translating the Spanish. "Thank God that in the Dominican, I was able to play it a lot. I'm excited to play over there."

There is already a logjam of young talent in the outfield with Drew Stubbs and Chris Dickerson battling for the center field spot, and Jonny Gomes , Dickerson, Todd Frazier , Daniel Dorn , Chris Heisey, and Layne Nix in left.

Francisco averaged 25 HRs each full year in the minors. He could be a left-handed Edwin Encarnacion as far as that goes. Double E was good for 20-25 HR each year, though his glove was erratic.

His one issue: strikeouts. There were only 24 walks last season compared to 115 strikeouts in the minors.

This article is also appearing at A Sports Moment