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Fransoso ready for full plate in 2014

Posted by Craig Forde  December 8, 2013 12:54 PM

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After whetting his appetite for professional baseball with the Short Season Single-A Jamestown Jammers in the New York-Penn League, Mike Fransoso now hungers for much more.

The former University of Maine standout has adjusted nicely at the next level and hopes to continue to roll that momentum into the 2014 season, which can’t come soon enough for the Portsmouth, New Hampshire native.

After four successful seasons with the Black Bears, Fransoso was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 27th round this past June, targeted by the club for his defensive range in the middle of the infield and his ability to get on base and make the most of it.

He hit the ground running in Jamestown, hitting .309 over his first 40 games, earning Fransoso.jpga spot in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game and helping the Jammers make a playoff run.

He had 16 multi-hit games, led the team with 34 walks and stole 14 bases in 67 games with Jamestown.

"It was kind of just getting my feet wet in pro ball," said Fransoso. "It was a good way to do that. The New York-Penn League was competitive and at the same time I did pretty well, so it was a confidence booster.

Now he is coming to grips with the fact that college life is now behind him, that baseball is his career, and he is eager to continue his on-the-job training.

"I think it's starting to hit me now that I didn't go back to school with all of my buddies," said Fransoso. "I'm hitting, trying to eat right and train my body for the grueling season next year, a full professional season, which will be my first one."

In all fairness, he did log 123 games between Maine and Jamestown in 2013, and seemed to hold up well, so he does at least have the stamina to get by.

"We had practice every day in Maine and played almost 60 games there," Fransoso said. "So it was still a long season but wasn't quite what a full season in pro ball will be. Playing every single day, playing games and long bus trips, I'm trying to get my body ready for that right now."

Of course things are different when there is a lot more at stake.

Fransoso seems to have the proper mentality to take steps up the ladder and a willingness to meet the game in the middle while he continues to find the proper path that will allow him to do so.

"The big thing is that you have to define yourself and know who you are as a player," said Fransoso. "In college...you're a little bit of a superstar at all those levels. Now you've really got to know who you are and what kind of player you are because everybody is a superstar at this level.

"I'm just trying to figure out who I am and what kind of player I want to be down the road."

The road to the 2014 season will begin in early February when Fransoso heads down to his aunt's house in Florida.

"I can get in some of the warmth and throw outside," he said, noting that it's a luxury he has never had playing in the New England. "Some of these guys have already been outside and they’re from the Southern states, so I'm going to try and get a jump on them."

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About the author

Craig Forde covers baseball talent as it develops into the next big thing. He has covered high school and college sports for the Boston Globe, and the minor league teams More »

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