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Your annual “Jeff Francoeur is working on his plate discipline” story

Mar 23, 2011, 9:51 AM EDT

Kansas City Royals Photo Day Getty Images

There has not been one offseason — literally, not one — since Jeff Francoeur broke into the majors when there hasn’t been a story in which he’s been reported to be working on pitch-recognition, plate patience and jacking up his on-base percentage.  Here’s last year’s. Not too long ago someone gathered links to all of them going back to the fall of 2005, but I can’t seem to find them, but believe me, they’re out there. UPDATE: here it is!

I was concerned that we weren’t going to get one this year, but lo and behold, here it is:

Working with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, he’s also trying to be better at selecting pitches to attack and alter his reputation as a free swinger.

“It’s going to cut down on his strikeouts, it’s going to put him in better hitting counts,” Seitzer said.

I can’t think of a single player with a track record like Francoeur’s — a hot month or two at some point in his career, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of mediocre to sub-mediocre at bats — who is nonetheless spoken of as though he was an adjustment or two from becoming  a star.  He’s no longer expected to be a savior. He is what he is: a guy who can be effective as a platoon player and who can help you on defense from time to time, but who by no means profiles as a middle of the order bat.

Why don’t these stories get written about, say, Austin Kearns or any other guy who flashed some skills at some point but then did a lot of nothin’ for a long time?  What is it about Frenchy that leads to these stories every year?  It’s baffling, frankly. And you’d think that at some point even Francoeur himself would get tired of them and want to be who and what he is rather than something people wish he was.

  1. nps6724 - Mar 23, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    The only thing that would help Jeff is if the only pitcher he ever faced was Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn pre-glasses or post-Veg Head.

  2. heyblueyoustink - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    As it goes, these questions and stories may disappear as he is now a resident of MLB’s black hole, otherwise known as the Royals……..While the Frenchy adjusting his hitting stories on a yearly basis are interesting, i’m wondering how many HBT posts revolve around this apparent enigma of a man…..*that* sounds like a more interesting stat…..

  3. gvots - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Phew! NOW I’m ready for Opening Day!

  4. atlsp - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    I thought that Austin Kearns comparison was spot on so I was prompted to look up Frenchy’s “Similarity Scores” on Baseball Reference. Most similar through Age 26 is Ben Grieve – again, not very surprising – but #2 is Dave Winfield?

  5. aronmantoo - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    What amazes me is that people still pay him to do the things he can’t do, Like hit

    • Utley's Hair - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:43 PM

      Be careful what you say about the recipient of Craig’s new fanboy mancrush.

  6. Brian Murphy - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Maybe these stories get written because writers need to turn something into their editor and Francoeur, with his friendly, approachable demeanor and million-dollar smile, makes for an easy subject.

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