The always excellent Kevin Kernan has a nice piece on Jeff Franceur's optimism going forward for 2010.
Francoeur has been something of a tough case for Mets fans, especially those of us who like more advanced stats.
The good: Francoeur was a very welcome shot in the arm when he came over late last year...he's like a permanent 5-hour energy drink. He also has the ability to relax those around him, plays decent (albeit overrated) defense, and he certainly has life in the bat. Lastly, he is extremely durable, can go out there every day and hits lefty's like an all-star.
The bad: It all centers around his inability to get on base. Francoeur has a lifetime .311 OBP in almost 3,000 big league plate appearances.
So why should we be as optimistic as Francoeur?
First off, he has steadily cut down on his Ks.
In the past 4 seasons his K numbers have showed a steady decline: 132, 129, 111, 92
His SO% has decreased in each of his 5 big league campaigns: 21,2%, 19.2%, 18.5%, 17.0%, 14.6%
What hasn't changed, however, are the key stats that lead to a decent on-base percentage.
His pitches per plate appearance have remained steady at around 3.4 per plate appearance. It's pretty tough to take walks with those numbers, but more importantly, Francoeur doesn't allow himself enough patience to wait on the most hittable pitch in an at-bat.
So the optimism must remain "cautious" at this point. Francoeur did make better contact with the Mets than he had in previous Brave campaigns. His batting average and slugging jumped by leaps and bounds, and he certainly looked aggressive and confident at the plate.
If Howard Johnson's work, and Francoer's maturity, can harness the talent into a 25 HR, 90 RBI, .330 OBP type of player, than it is a win all around.
Francoeur is never going to get on base a ton--this we know--what we want is for him to get on base "enough" while providing a solid presence in the lower half of the lineup.
I am optimistic about that.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
by Dave Singer
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