I know you're thinking Ben Francisco as a sleeper? Hear me out first before you judge me. You're thinking the Phillies will play Domonic Brown and the job is his in rightfield. Brown is a five-tool player and with Jayson Werth now in Washington, many assume it's his time to shine.
Brown doesn’t have much left to prove in the minor leagues after hitting .327 with 20 home runs, 68 RBIs and 17 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A last season. As with most young players, the biggest thing for Brown is plate discipline.
The Phillies didn’t expose Brown to lefthanders in his limited at-bats with the Phillies last season. Are they willing to do it yet? There is a chance Brown begins the season in the minor leagues or he could platoon with Francisco, who hits lefthanders well.
Francisco has never been given much of an opportunity on an everyday basis against righthanders. Francisco bats .267 with a .347 on-base percentage and a .460 slugging percentage against lefthanders in his career and .262 with a .323 on-base percentage and a .440 slugging percentage against righthanders, so it's not a stark difference.
Francisco has a nice combo of power and speed that has flown under the radar. In 405 at-bats between the Phillies and Indians in 2009, Francisco had 15 home runs and 14 stolen bases. Last season he received just 179 at-bats with the Phillies and hit six home runs and eight stolen bases.
Based on his skill set, a 20-20 season is possible if Francisco gets the at-bats. There are always key position battles to pay attention to in the spring and this is one. Francisco could be a tremendous value if he gets the at-bats in deeper leagues. Keep an eye on him.
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