A lot of us bloggers have been writing about the uncertainty we feel about Jeff Francoeur's recent hot streak. I think we can now officially call that a tepid streak. My fears about French not hitting once he got back on the road are starting to come to fruition. After a homestand in which he hit .375 (12 for 32), he has started out this road trip hitting just .133 (2 for 15). Is this inability to hit on the road becoming mental with him?
Sabernomics takes a step back in his full-on assault on Francoeur (kidding) and makes a valid point that Francoeur could have used more time in the minors. He points to Jeff's 0 for 5 performance on the base paths as a genuine indicator of his need for more seasoning:
To me, a big sign that Francoeur could have used some more time in the oven--other than his lack of walks--is that he's 0-5 in stolen bases. This is a guy who might have played DB in the NFL and he can't take a base! While Chipper and his bunions are 3-0. Stealing bases takes more than speed; it's an art, and I think it's something he could have worked on in the minors.That comment got me a-thinking about comparable players, guys who were brought up perhaps too soon and struggled to adjust. Jose Guillen, currently with the Nationals, is someone whose early career may be comparable with Francoeur's. Guillen was 21 in his first major league season, the same as Francoeur. He was also not one to take a walk, registering strikeout-to-walk ratios in his first two Major League seasons of 88-17 and 100-21. Many people feel he was brought to the Majors way too fast, going from high-A ball in '96 to the Pirates in '97. After bouncing around for several years, he finally found him stroke in Cincinnati in '03.
Is Francoeur going to follow a similar career path? Rushed to the majors before he was ready, and not blossoming until several years down the road.
Sabernomics also has a great game he's playing to predict the outcome of Francoeur's season. I suggest you all weigh in, and we'll see who's right at the end of the year.