2010 Player Reviews

Year in Review: Ben Francisco

-Ah, the year was 2009. And the Phillies were eyeing a left handedpitcher to take them to the promise land. The mighty GM Ruben Amaro proved fearless sending talented young players to Cleveland and got their ace. Even better, he came with a friend. His name was Ben Francisco. And that’s where the story starts.

Ok ok, this was not a fairy tale. We all know how it eventually ended. However, the pick up of Ben Francisco to supplement the Philliesalready talent laden outfield proved beneficial. In 2010, Francisco served, once again, off the bench as a fourth outfielder and reliable right handed bat for late inning match ups.

As a fourth outfielder, Francisco’s line of .268/.327/.441 worked perfectly into what the Phillies were looking for. He gave them a viable option off the bench who was a sound fielder and could hit for power. BenFran had six home runs and 28 RBIs in 179 at bats. Although it was his lowest power production since 2007, if given the chance to play an entire season Francisco could easily put up 20 and 70 as an everyday player.

Francisco’s above average quickness and ability to run the bases added to the already fast line up the Phillies had with (a healthy) Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth. He had 13 doubles and eight stolen bases in eight attempts.
Defensively, Phillies fans saw Francisco in all three outfield positions. He started 17 games in left, 10 in right and one in center. Overall he saw time in 45 games in the field. Obviously talented enough to play all over the outfield, he backed it up with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 63 chances to go along with three outfield assists.

Francisco is eligible for salary arbitration this offseason and I don’t see any reason for the Phillies not to make him an offer. With the Werth sweepstakes heating up, Amaro may look inside the organization to replace the right fielder and platooning Francisco and Domonic Brown seems a viable option. And at $470,000, Francisco isn’t going to cost much. The Phillies can use some of that extra money and bulk up their bullpen.

Francisco was very good at situational hitting. As a pinch hitter he hit .282 (11 hits). His numbers with (gasp) runners in scoring position were also very good. He hit .306 and had 20 RBIs. With two outs and RISP he went 7 for 23 with eight RBIs.

I think Francsico was a great fourth outfielder for the Phillies this pastseason and could thrive offensively with at bats coming more consistently.

KIERAN’S GRADE: 7.3/10

PAT GALLEN’S GRADE: 6.9/10 – Ben Francisco did his job this season, although most of us would like to see him contribute a little more. Can’t help it that Charlie won’t use him. He’s a great 4th outfielder and will be again next year.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Bart Shart

    November 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Pat Gallen is correct…. Francisco cannot help it if Manuel won’t use him. The guys talent will atrophy if he doesn’t get more playing time than last year. Charlie Manuel is a fine manager, but he does not use his bench intelligently. Francisco may develop more if used more. He is a decent hitter with good power and a solid outfielder. Plus, the Phils are getting older and key players need a rest from time to time to keep fresh. Charlie seems to ingnore this fact. I agree with the grading on Francisco. Nice analysis.

  2. Kate

    November 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Very true.

    Manuel’s loyalty is commendable. More managers should have some of that loyalty.

    I will b*tchslap anyone who disses Manuel after the year he had, but I can be logical at times and I have wondered what might have happened had Valdez subbed for Rollins or Utley and perhaps Sweeney for Howard and Francisco for Ibanez (which actually did happen) at some point in the NLCS. Charlie’s not infallible, after all, and I concede the point that Charlie’s “If you go down, I go down with you” attitude may have cost us the trip to the World Series this year.

    Francisco did very well with the time he got this year. I’m hoping to see him a lot more next year, perhaps platooning with a ready-for-departure Ibanez.

    In Amaro I trust, but if Francisco isn’t back in 2011, that trust will be severely tested.

  3. psujoe

    November 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    .284 with a dinger every 16 abs against lefties. Exactly what the Phils needed.

  4. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    November 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    IF GIVEN THE CHANCE,I SEE BIG THINGS COMING FROM BEN THIS YEAR……..

  5. Marc H

    November 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    He’s horrible….his misplayed flyball helped cost the Phillies NLCS Game #4 and he took a called 3rd strike with s runner on 3rd base with 1 out in NLCS Game #6. If the Phillies think that he can step into a platoon role in LF or RF, they are kidding themselves

  6. Andrew R.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Way off Marc H. How about the diving catch he made in 2009 against the Rockies? You’re judging a guy based on 2 games. If that were the case we’d be calling Ryan Howard a pesky singles hitter instead of a slugger.

    If we think that Ben Fran can hit 20 homers and drive in 70, I don’t see why he can’t take over for Shane in CF. Shane’s a good CF, and Ben’s no slouch out there either. I picture Ben as the “Diet Coke” version of Jayson Werth. Great defense? Almost. .290 hitter? Not quite. 25+ homer guy? Eh, maybe 20+. 20-steal potential? More like 15. I think Ben would thrive in an opportunity to play more.

    Imagine the bounty we’d get from Victorino. Definately do some rebuilding.

    When I saw Ben Fran playing this year, I saw a guy who looked like he was trying to do too much. And when you only get to play once every 10 games, wouldn’t you?

    Let Ben play!!

  7. Andrew R.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Oh and if Marc H wants to start assigning blame, how about that ball that Burrell hit in Game 1 where Raul went back to the wall and jumped unnecessarily and missed the ball. A run scored off of that and then Cody Ross came up……

  8. brooks

    November 19, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Andrew you mean Betsy Ross =

    Like most of the Phils this year and last, when the chips were on the line Ben came up short. In the WS last year, 0 for 8. In the NLCS this year too. No blame, I like Ben and he is an everyday player just not on this team.

  9. Kate

    November 19, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I saw a guy who looked like a dead ringer for Lincecum on the El and then a guy who looked like a dead ringer for Donovan McNabb on the bus.

    I had to restrain myself from punching the Lincecum lookalike.

    There’s a lot of blame to go around for the NLCS, but Game 7 most likely would have been played if it wasn’t for

    1. Chase Utley forgetting how to field;
    2. Ryan Howard forgetting the first rule of a full count

    I think if Ben platoons with Ibanez next season, he’ll get a lot better with a lot more playing time and maybe take over full-time in 2012.

  10. brooks

    November 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    We all saw how crappy, near dreadful Raul played in the first half of the season and yet Cholly did not platoon him. Why should we believe that Cholly would have a change of heart this coming year?

  11. Marc H

    November 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Ben Francisco is not a platoon player or an everyday player on a championship-calibre club. A fringe major leaguer at best. Check back mid-2011 and see how you feel about this guy.

  12. Dan

    November 20, 2010 at 12:19 am

    I like Ben Fransisco and I feel comfortable with a Fransisco, Brown platoon in right for 2011. I think Ben will benefit from increased playing time. I think his numbers could be pretty gaudy too because he seems to handle lefties very well. I think all of his 6 homeruns in 2010 came against lefties. He did have an at-bat in game 6 of the NLCS in which he had Ibanez on third with one out and could have been nervous and ended up striking out, which is precisely what you cannot do here- even a pop up is better because it has a chance of blooping in.

  13. bacardipr05

    November 20, 2010 at 4:41 am

    I like Francisco…Sweeney should of giving a chance to bat…Nuff said

  14. NJ

    November 20, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Not to be unkind to Ben Fran who is a gutsy little player but he’s very much the guy you slot in when you need to bid your time at an outfield position or use as an everyday guy if you have an outfielder go down for significant time. I’m not sure he’s in his best role with the Phillies but I agree with what you guys are saying, if that 4th outfielders got some game you need to use him as a threat to take playing time away from guys when they aren’t getting it done.

  15. betasigmashag

    November 20, 2010 at 11:42 am

    If you look at both Raul and Ben’s numbers when they platooned for about a month they both were pretty good, and Raul’s numbers went up even against lefties after that. So maybe Charlie will use Ben a little more in that role. Especially if Brown is going to replace Wreth if he leaves, because Ben could play left and right against lefties.
    I also think if Ben played more of a full season their is no reason to think he could not put up numbers like .280 20hr 80 rbi. If the other regulars have more of an average season for them.

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