How bad was Jeff Francoeur last year? By one measure, he was the worst outfielder that the Braves — who, mind you, have been playing since before the National League was founded — have ever had. Lowest offensive winning percentages by Braves outfielders, min. 500 PA:
OWP YEAR OWP
1 Jeff Francoeur 2008 .304
2 Bill Collins 1910 .314
3 Eddie Brown 1928 .316
4 Dick Johnston 1889 .320
5 Ray Powell 1920 .320
6 Sonny Jackson 1971 .334
7 George Browne 1908 .344
8 Hal Lee 1936 .360
9 Bill Bruton 1953 .360
10 Cliff Carroll 1893 .374
Of course, most managers would eventually bench a guy who was playing that poorly, so not too many would get 500 PA, but Jeff Francoeur is just so gosh darned special, you just hate to hurt his feelings.
Francoeur’s bat, never all that great, is shot. That’s the basic problem; he has no bat speed left, so he has to start to swing, or not, when the pitcher still has the ball, so ball and strike are basically random events whether he knows the zone or not. And even if he makes solid contact, the ball doesn’t go anywhere, so it’s a mildly noisy out at best. Not to sound like Joe Simpson, but he really should just hit the other way, because his best chance of contributing is to slap singles.
He can’t field, either. The year after winning the gold glove, he looked totally lost in right field. He is also terribly slow, so it is unbelievable that he could have played defensive back on a Division-I level, or even in the ACC. Attempted one stolen base last year, and of course failed.
If you want to find a positive sign, he was basically average in March/April and September October. Hey, Detroit, he’s a cold-weather player! Magglio for Jeff, what do you say?
I didn’t want to write this. I kept hoping that the Braves would trade him or release him or announce that he’ll start the year in A-ball in an effort to become a pitcher or float him on a raft to Cuba, but it looks like we’re stuck with him.