Jeff Francoeur: Leaving Atlanta?
I have been a Jeff Francoeur fan since he broke into the major leagues with the Braves in 2005. He got off to a fantastic start with the Braves hitting 14 homers and driving in 45 runs in only 70 games. He hit .300 and slugged .549. His main weakness that season was his lack of plate discipline walking only 11 times in 274 plate appearances.
Francoeur had another sensational season in his second season in 2006 hitting 29 homers and driving in 103 runs. His plate discipline got even worse though when he walked only 23 times in 412 more plate appearances in 2006.
His batting average fell to .260 and his slugging percentage fell 100 points in his second season to .449 from the .549 of his first season. His on base percentage fell to .293 in 2006.
The 2007 season would be another good offensive year for Francoeur. He hit 19 homers and drove in 105 runs and hit .293.
Francoeur seemed to be on the verge of a great career when the 2008 season started. However suddenly his power numbers fell to 11 homers and 71 RBI’s. His average was an anemic .239 and at one point he was sent to the minors.
The trip to the minors only upset him and his numbers didn’t improve when he returned. He ended the 2008 season with a slugging percentage of .359.
He worked during the offseason with the Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. Francoeur was hitting .350 on April 17 but now is hitting only .259.
He has three homers and 21 RBI’s and is slugging .362 and has on OBP of only .281.
His last ten games are an example of how he hit well for a few days and then fall into another slump.
He started the last ten game stretch by going 0 for 10 in his first three games. Then in the next four games he is 7 for thirteen. Then in his last three games he has been 2 for 12.
His lack of offense is even more crucial with the entire Braves outfield having hit only seven homers with the season a third over in nine games.
Bobby Cox has been very patient with Francoeur but he can’t be patient too much longer. The Braves are too close to first place in the NL East to let the lack of offense in the Braves outfield continue.
Francoeur is 25 and is in his fifth major league season but he may be leaving Atlanta one way or the other very soon. He may be traded if a team is interested in a player with little power and only has ten extra base hits this season. His only extra base hits since May 2 have been two doubles.
The time has come for the Atlanta Braves to make a decision on Francoeur since Cox can’t continue to write his name into the lineup and have him be a shadow of the player they called up in 2005.