It just goes to show how much rejuvenation can come from a renewed opportunity. When the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Juan Francisco, it was viewed as nothing more than a roster depth-move by the masses. However, there were signs pointing in the direction that Francisco was on his way to becoming much more than bench fodder. It has been almost a month since the slugger’s call-up, and the evaluations are in; the Blue Jays’ have hit the jackpot — or have they?
Well, the new-and-improved Francisco has announced his presence with authority so far. In just 68 at-bats, the uppercut artist has mashed to the tune of a .559 slugging percentage, and a .926 OPS. Not to mention, the chunk of his five long-balls needed tape-measure assistance. Adding to his new-found prominence has been his versatility on defense; stepping in for Brett Lawrie at the hot corner (proving he can hold his own) while answering the bell anytime first-base duties call his name has saved this team from losing its continuity.
It’s no secret that strikeouts have been the reason Francisco has been shipped out of one-too-many big league cities; a 33-percent career K-rate tends to fill one’s resume up with red-flag ink. Don’t look now, but those same issues are starting to creep back into the picture; Francisco has displayed his ugly side while recording a stretch of seven-straight strikeouts (eight overall) over the course of the last three games.
Is it time to panic? The answer would be stand pat and give the power-hitter a chance fight his way out of the annual funk that plagues him. Francisco has without a doubt earned that much.
Bold Prediction: Not only does Francisco prevail, but continues his rise to join the conversation of eventually becoming an everyday player. He’s managed to bring back the “moving Lawrie to second base” idea to this franchise; a thought that was once deemed unfathomable. The walks-of-shame back to the dugout continue to haunt, but this time he’s armed with a new lease on life; which never should be underestimated. It could also mean Adam Lind‘s days in a Blue Jays’ uniform are numbered.
The jackpot factor remains, and it exists as a 2-0 fastball. It’s now up to Francisco to capitalize on the hitter’s count.