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Rarely is the question asked: is our Jeff Francoeur learning?

Feb 25, 2010, 12:25 PM EDT

Less than a year ago, Jeff Francoeur famously said “If on-base percentage is so important, then why don’t they put it up on the scoreboard?”  Never mind that OBP had long been on the scoreboard in Atlanta.

As evidenced by that quote, my problem with Jeff Francoeur wasn’t so much that he never seemed to be able to take a walk. It was that he was ignorantly defensive about the very notion of taking one.  He never wanted to learn plate patience, and the one time the Braves took a hard stand on the matter — sending Frenchie to the minors to work on it — he pouted to the media about it and was called up three days later.

But then I open up my virtual copy of the New York Post this morning and see this:

“One of my big goals is to have better pitch recognition,” said
Francoeur, who hit .311 as a Met. “Sometimes you try to say it doesn’t
bother you to swing at a bad pitch, but it does. I’m human. I want to
get better because I know if I can get better at that the rest of my
game will follow. If I can mix in 50-60 walks, I become a totally
different guy.”

I really, really want that to be a genuine goal for Francoeur. Because despite the fact that he plays for the Mets and despite the fact that he drove me crazy for most of five seasons as a Brave, he could be an absolutely electrifying player if he was somehow able to show even a moderate amount of selectivity at the plate.

(thanks to Steve Nolan for the heads up)

  1. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 25, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    He is still driving you craZy, but now he’s doing it as a Met…
    oh boy………..

  2. Steve Stein - Feb 25, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    I want Francoeur to succeed, too, especially since I drafted him 2nd in my APBA league a few years ago and he’s been haunting RF ever since.
    But I have to disagree with you, Craig. I thought he tried this in his next-to-last year as a Brave and his offense went to hell.
    In his career, he hits 345/357/592 on the first pitch. (The OBP is higher than the Avg because of 13 HBP.) Jeff, stop thinking and just hit!

  3. Ravi - Feb 25, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Jose Reyes had very similar struggles. He had zero discipline when he first came up, and Rob Neyer called him the worst everyday player in the bigs. In 2005, he did not draw his first walk until June!!
    It took him a little while to find the right balance between patience and aggression, but he found that balance in 2006, and he took off.
    Now of course age is a factor, but Reyes was 23 when he made that adjustment, and Frenchy isn’t that far off. Time will tell if he can get it together, but the example that this improvement can be made at the highest level is just a few lockers down.

  4. YX - Feb 25, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    I’m sure pretty much every hitter do great on the first pitch. After all, they can’t struck out on first pitch.

  5. wrong em - Feb 26, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    LOVE this headline.
    Was the original line “rarely HAS the question asked”?

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