Mark Sheldon is reporting that Juan Francisco has been traded to the Atlanta Braves for minor league pitcher J.J. Hoover.

Hoover, 24, went 25-19 with a 3.14 ERA in 99 appearances, including 61 starts, over four years (2008 to 2011) in the Braves farm system.

Barring a second trade, this should solidify Todd Frazier’s spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

UPDATE: The Reds have tweeted confirmation of the trade. John Sickels published an in-depth report on Hoover last September.

For most teams, Hoover would profile as a solid number three or four starter, chewing up innings at a good clip with consistent performance. But the Braves see Hoover’s path to the majors as clearing more quickly in the bullpen, and it is hard to argue with the results so far: he’s been outstanding in that role in Triple-A. He’s been named as one of Atlanta’s representatives in the Arizona Fall League, one of the last stepping stones to the majors, and should compete for a relief job on the big league staff in 2012.

Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus had Hoover as the #13 prospect in the Braves very deep system. Marc Hulet of FanGraphs also rated Hoover as the Braves #13 prospect:

13. J.J. Hoover, RHP: Hoover doesn’t have the same power arsenal that other pitchers at the top of this list possess but he knows how to pitch and has had success at the both double-A and triple-A (albeit in a small sample size). Hoover split the year between the starting rotation and the bullpen but has the potential to be a solid No. 4 starter at the big league level. With some higher profile arms in the system, though, he could end up as a big league league swing man if he sticks with Atlanta.

Sounds like Hoover offers the Reds some organizational depth as a starter and may also provide short term help in the bullpen. He was assigned to Louisville.

Some in Atlanta are speculating that Francisco may start immediately for the Braves at 3B while Chipper Jones is recovering from surgery. That would surprise me as the Braves have been playing Martin Prado at 3B and he has been hitting well this spring.