A Scouting Report on Frank Francisco from Adam Morris of Lone Star Ball

I asked Adam Francis Morris (sorry Adam, I don't know were Francis came from), blogger from the great SB Nation Texas Ranger site Lone Star Ball to give us a scouting report on Frank Francisco.  Here it is:

It is a little sad seeing Frankie Francisco leave Texas, even though it is as part of a deal that makes the team better. Frankie has been in Texas since the middle of the 2003 season, when he was one of three players to be named later who came over from the Chicago organization in exchange for Carl Everett. When the Rangers had their surprisingly successful 2004 season, staying in the A.L. West race until the final week of a season where many expected they would lose 100 games, the bullpen was the key to their success, and Frankie was one of the primary cogs of that bullpen.

Frankie's stuff can be outstanding, and he works primarily off of a mid-90s fastball and a split-finger pitch that can be devastating once he gets ahead of the count. He's got closer stuff, and part of me was hoping that his decision to accept arbitration would mean that Neftali Feliz would transition to the rotation this season, with Frankie moving back into the closer role.

Frankie's main problem over the years has been staying healthy. He had Tommy John surgery after his breakout 2004 campaign, missed all of 2005, and then struggled in 2006 and 2007, leading us to be concerned that he might be one of those guys who never makes it back. He has been terrific the last three years, though, when he's been on the mound. The "being on the mound" part has been the problem...he had three separate stints on the d.l. in 2009, and missed the final two months of the 2010 season (September and then the playoffs).

Even though Frankie lost his closer job a week into the 2010 season, he was probably the team's best reliever from the second week of the season until he got hurt. Like a lot of relievers, he became a lightning rod for fan criticism, with many proclaiming that they "didn't trust him" and that they never felt comfortable with him in the game. I think some of that has to do with his appearance and demeanor...he's a little on the puffy side, and he doesn't ooze confidence on the mound. In big situations, he gets deliberate, and takes a slow, deep breath before throwing. It also has to do with the natural tendency of fans to expect the late-game relievers to convert every opportunity...when a couple of key games are blown in a row (and Frankie's meltdowns do feel like they come in bunches), it taints the fans from that point forward.

In any case, Toronto fans have acquired a guy that I think most Rangers fans ultimately are still sad to see go. His absence from the 2010 playoffs drove home how important he was to the bullpen, and how much the team missed not having him. The Blue Jays should get solid work from him, but with his injury history, they probably also want to be careful with how frequently they use him, and how often on back-to-back days.

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