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Just The Sports: Francoeur Not Looking For Good Pitches Either

Just The Sports

Friday, May 12, 2006

Francoeur Not Looking For Good Pitches Either

The headline of this article, "Francoeur not looking for walks," may be one of the more obvious statements of the year so far. Not looking for walks is actually commendable for a baseball player. Any player who goes up to the plate looking for a walk will instead find himself with a strikeout and a nice seat waiting for him on the bench. If only Francoeur's problems at the plate were really limited to his hatred of taking four balls.

Remember when Jeff Francoeur talked at spring training about having a different mindset and becoming more patient at the plate? Never mind.

"I guess that mindset went totally out the window when I started 2-for-36," the Braves right fielder said Wednesday, a day after drawing his first walk this season in his 136th plate appearance.

The reason you started 2-for-36 is because of your lack of patience so you never even put into practice what you talked about during spring training. You may have thought you were being more patient because you were waiting until the third pitch to swing instead of the first, but patience at the plate is more than just not swinging at the first pitch you see.

And Francoeur probably wanted so badly to swing at one of the four intentional balls, but he knew how utterly ridiculous he would look if he did so.

He laughed at the recollection, an indication of where this no-walks "issue" ranks in importance to Francoeur.

Less funny is his .259 on-base percentage. When a .300 on-base percentage is replacement-level.

"I don't care," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Francoeur's walks, or lack thereof. "If you're getting production down in the six-hole [in the lineup], who cares? And he's producing."

No, Bobby, he is not producing. In fact, every day you pencil Francoeur's name into the line-up, you are costing the Atlanta Braves runs. So far into this season, Francoeur's BRAR (batting runs above replacement) is -2; in essence, the Braves have scored two less runs than they would have with a player of only relacement-level major league ability. Bobby Cox would be better off putting the names of all of Atlanta's Triple-A players into a hat, drawing a name at random, and letting that player bat 6th for him and play in right field.


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