Cincinnati Reds should bring Juan Francisco back as a mentor

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

With the increase in Cubans and Dominicans in the Cincinnati Reds system, the team needs more mentors.

There has been an increase in players from Cuba and the Dominican Republic in the Cincinnati Reds system. Now, the team needs to add more mentors.  One need look no further than the major league team to see this impact.  Pitchers Luis Castillo and Raisel Iglesias are both from outside the United States.

The Reds have three players among their top eleven prospects from Cuba.  They have a pair of shortstops.  They are Alfredo Rodriguez and Jose Israel Garcia.  They also have pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez from Cuba in the minors.

This off-season starting shortstop Jose Peraza returned to the Venezuela winter league.  He wanted to work on defense.  Peraza is from Venezuela.  He has played in the Dominican Republic during the season to work on defense and his positional flexibility, as well, when he was younger.

The Reds’ third baseman Eugenio Suarez also started his career with a team in the Dominican Republic.  He played outfield, shortstop, and third base there.  Then he moved up the Detroit Tigers’ organization.  The island experience permeates the careers of many of the Reds’ young players and prospects.

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Other players have also played in one of the Dominican leagues.  Prospect Jose Siri’s power is well known from his time there.  Fellow minor league slugger Aristides Aquino is from the Dominican Repubilic as well.

With this island flair in the Cincinnati Reds organization, they should be mindful of having mentors available.

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Juan Francisco was a corner infielder.  He came up through the minor leagues with the Reds.  The Reds signed him as a teenager in 2006.  He began his career in short season rookie ball.  He ended that season in long season rookie ball.

Prior to the 2012 season, the Reds traded Francisco to the Atlanta Braves.  They had to because he was out of options.  Francisco has also played for the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays.  He hit 48 MLB home runs before leaving for Japan.

Francisco spent some time with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in 2015.  In 2017 Francisco began with the Baltimore Orioles.  He signed a minor league deal.  Soon the Orioles released him.  Then Francisco signed on with the Mexican League.

The Orioles who desperately wanted Francisco for DH and first base depth.  The Reds would only want him to be a leader.  He would come to spring training. 

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Then he would go to the minor league team that needs him the most.  This would benefit Francisco.  The minor leaguers that aren’t use to American baseball, yet, would also benefit.