Deep League Thoughts -- Full-time jobs are must-owns

Mike McGinnis

If a guy is getting the vast majority of the starts, and your league is deep, you kind of have to give him a second look. Guys like Juan Francisco deserve consideration.

As a league gets deeper, "guaranteed playing time" becomes more and more important. In a 10-team league, you know, whatever, who cares, every player on every team is probably a starter, or at least has the dominant side of a platoon. As you get to the 15-team leagues or the NL-only leagues, you start looking at the guys like Jeff Baker or Derek Norris, guys who aren't playing all the time but who you hope to make use of when they are out there.

That's why, when it looks like a guy is getting guaranteed playing time, even if it's only for a while, deep leagues really need to jump on him. Which means that, if you are playing in a deep league, and Juan Francisco is unowned, you've made a boo-boo.

Francisco, designated for assignment by the Braves last week, was traded to the Brewers and immediately thrust into the role of "starting first baseman," a role previously held by "couldn't hit at all" Alex Gonzalez and "couldn't hit at all despite a surprise hot week" Yuniesky Betancourt. No, neither of them is a first baseman, and neither of them is a starting-caliber offensive player at any position.

Really, that's why Francisco is guaranteed his time. Until Corey Hart returns - and who really knows when that will be - who the hell else might the Brewers use there? And whenever Hart does return, we all remember the Brewers are terrible, right? Hart is among their most viable trade chips, so the day he shows he's actually healthy again is the day he goes on the market to the highest bidder, and shortly thereafter is the day Francisco is guaranteed his playing time again.

And this is in Milwaukee. Which means he'll be hitting behind a group that includes Norichika Aoki, Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy. No, the Brewers aren't good, but there really ought to be RBI opportunities out there.

In five years of shuttling between the minor leagues and Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Milwaukee, Francisco has yet to show he can hit at a major-league level. A career strikeout percentage over 30% is fairly damning. But this is a guy who hit at basically ever level of the minors. There was always reasonable power, a lower strikeout rate, more production across the board. It's possible he is just a quad-A player, and he'll never realize the potential he displayed in the minors.

But again, guaranteed playing time. He's eligible only at third base right now, but first base eligibility is coming soon. A player with multi-position eligibility, relatively guaranteed playing time, and the potential for some power? That's worth owning in the deep leagues.

If you're only in 10-team leagues, though, feel free to ignore this post. But thanks for the click! That was awfully nice of you.

Follow me on Twitter @danieltkelley

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