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Francoeur: I will not fail again

By Furman Bisher | Tuesday, October 7, 2008, 04:21 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Spring training came early for Jeff Francoeur this year. (Or next year, as you see it.) As soon as he got off the Braves’ plane from Houston, he was on the road to Athens, where it would begin. Athens is where he checked in and went to work on his body with a physical therapist.

After a season of a .239 batting average, only 11 home runs and a disturbing number of strikeouts, he went in search of the former Francoeur who had brought many a crowd to its feet at Turner Field. His game had made some recovery in the closing days, to the point that he had been moved to cleanup in the batting order against the Astros. Then he struck out three times in the last game.

“What happened to me this year will not happen again,” he said, with a steely glint in his eyes. He had checked into the Disney World camp at a plumpish 238 pounds, a figure unbecoming him. He had been wed in the offseason and perhaps grew a little fat and happy as a husband.

“I weigh 218 now, always my game weight, and I’ve got to get the rest of me in baseball shape. Nobody looked forward to the end of this season more than I did.”

For the first time in his life he heard boos, in his hometown, from people who had once adored him. “I had never failed like I did this year. I’ve always succeeded in what I did. I’ve never known what it is to fail,” he said with feeling. “This will not happen again, I promise.”

Before the 2007 season, the Braves had offered Francoeur and catcher Brian McCann extended contracts for something like $24 million over six years (I don’t guarantee these numbers, but they’re close), a practice eschewed by John Schuerholz when he was general manager. Presumably, this was Frank Wren’s deal as Schuerholz’s successor.

McCann took it. Francoeur turned it down. There was speculation then that this was a situation that bore heavily on his sagging season, but don’t suggest that to him. “Not at all. I have more faith in myself than that. I’ve always succeeded in what I did. I’ve never been known to fail,” he said, in a voice firm and gritty. “I guess I took a lot for granted. If I could persevere through this, I can persevere through anything.”

After all the lifting and physical grind, he’ll move into some concentrated hitting exercises, tuning his swing toward the spring. “I’m looking forward to next spring right now,” he said. “I want to have a season my wife can enjoy more than this one has been.”

In other words, this is not just for himself, but all those out there who have become addicted to “Frenchy,” a hometown kid they had become attached to. They knew him first as a football star at Parkview High, and a chance at two careers on a major level — football on a Clemson scholarship, or baseball with the Braves and a gracious bonus. He is certain he made the right choice, and those who love him, and having been among the booers, feel the same way.

Can’t wait for the spring after the gloomiest season the Braves have had since 1990.

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I am all for giving Frenchy another chance. Tim Hudson had a terrible season after he decided to alter his off-season approach. Francouer decided to get bigger and stronger, and forget about what is important in baseball.

Give the kid another shot. His trade value couldn't be lower, and we don't have a replacement in our organization- yet.

If Francouer is terrible, I don't expect to see Jason Heyward this season, but perhaps next.

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jidady will go nuts when he reads this. Jeff is going to cause ji to pull all of his hair out computing OBP stats.

He's exactly right, though. Statistically, Jeff Francoeur is the worst starting RF in all of baseball. There's no other way to slice it. Can he get better? Sure, but this is exactly what I predicted would happen to him (well, not to become the worst in baseball). The guy has absolutely no plate discipline. Once pitchers learned to not give him anything to hit, he has been awful. Until he can learn to work a count, he's going to struggle, and eventually play himself off the team.

For our sake as Braves' fans, we better hope he does indeed get past this. No matter how much money we spend this off-season, we can't get by having our RF hit 10 HRs and reach base at a terrible rate.

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Until he can learn to work a count, he's going to struggle, and eventually play himself off the team.

This is the long and short of it. His plate approach is one that only the Vlads of the world can get away with.

For our sake as Braves' fans, we better hope he does indeed get past this. No matter how much money we spend this off-season, we can't get by having our RF hit 10 HRs and reach base at a terrible rate.

10 HRs might be a pipe dream next year. He only hit 2 after the All-Star break. He hit 3 homers after June 13. 3. I wish I were kidding.

It's lucky for Frenchy that he's from Georgia. If he weren't a local kid, he would be getting buried for his play this season.

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How soon everyone forgets that Francoeur batted .293 in 2007. :huh:

And his OBP was only .338 against a league average of .341, meaning that while you are trying to praise his performance that year, he was statistically one of the easier outs in the game. This year, he was one of the five easiest. He's a black hole in the lineup and that's quantifiable mathematically.

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This is the long and short of it. His plate approach is one that only the Vlads of the world can get away with.

10 HRs might be a pipe dream next year. He only hit 2 after the All-Star break. He hit 3 homers after June 13. 3. I wish I were kidding.

It's lucky for Frenchy that he's from Georgia. If he weren't a local kid, he would be getting buried for his play this season.

:rolleyes:<_<

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But we now know that you have an agendal against Francoeur.

Yes, that agenda is an understanding that if you look at the stats for all RFs last season, the name at the bottom is Jeff Francoeur.

But hey, he's from Georgia so he must be aces anyway! Let's just agree to drop the math and stats out of it and grade him on his dimples!

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Francoeur has never reached at least the average on base percentage in any of his four seasons in the majors. He's had a handful of good months against an otherwise bad career.

Whatever dude. You hate him and that is all there is too it.

If we were talking about Jo-Jo Reyes there would be no way for me to argue with you but we aren't. We are talking about a guy who before last year was considered by many one of the top RFs in all of baseball. Rather you like it our not Francoeur is only gonna be 25 heading into next season and has a had 2 100 RBI seasons under his beat. And before last season was one of the most clutch players in all of baseball.

Since you are such a stats guy what is his BA and such with RISP, 2-Out RISP before last year? :rolleyes:

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Whatever dude. You hate him and that is all there is too it.

What's happening is that Scott and I are introducing facts into the equation and you don't like that because facts are not in the favor of the Georgia homers who want to like Jeff Francoeur in spite of his on-field play.

Since you are such a stats guy what is his BA and such with RISP, 2-Out RISP before last year? :rolleyes:

Instead of being arcane in order to be chippy, let's just look at Francoeur's on base percentages every month he's been in the majors. Remember that .340 is the general average with a point or two of variation each season:

2008:

.300

.306

.306

.270

.286

.264

.333

2007:

.367

.319

.313

.371

.315

.345

2006:

.230

.295

.278

.330

.322

.296

.333

2005:

.413

.364

.287

.111

Since the spectacular first 40 games of Frenchy's career (the ones in .413-.364 area in 2005), he has failed to get on base to the league average 19 out of 22 months. 86.4% of the months he's been in baseball since those first forty games, he's been an easier than average out.

You can keep replying if you want, but those numbers speak for themselves to settle the discussion.

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