September 24, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur (21) walks back to dugout after striking out during the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Keeping A Good Man Down


Jeff Francoeur entered 2012 the darling of the casual Royals fan. I’m referring to those people who never paid attention to his track record and assumed that his 2011 season was the norm and not the exception. Their changing attitudes towards the right fielder was actually rather interesting to watch. By August they were chanting “Free Wil Myers” along with the rest of us.

And why not? Factoring in playing time (600 minimum plate appearances) you can make a very credible argument he just put up the worst season in team history. Others have put up poorer numbers for sure, Angel Salazar and Tony Pena Jr come quickly to mind, but they weren’t allowed to continue playing every day, and that’s really the difference between a bad year and a historically awful year. For reasons known only to himself, Ned Yost sent Frenchy to the plate 603 times in 2012. And how did Frenchy reward Yost’s misguided loyalty?

By doing this:

Rk Player WAR PA Year
1 Jeff Francoeur -2.7 603 2012
2 Mark Teahen -1.5 623 2008
3 Jose Guillen -0.9 633 2008
4 Angel Berroa -0.9 652 2005
5 George Brett -0.6 612 1993

…and this:

Rk Player OPS+ PA Year
1 U L Washington 71 604 1983
2 Willie Wilson 74 628 1988
3 Joe Randa 77 636 2001
4 Freddie Patek 77 630 1974
5 Jeff Francoeur 81 603 2012
……and this:

 

Rk Player OBP PA Year
1 Frank White .284 600 1985
2 Jeff Francoeur .287 603 2012
3 Brian McRae .288 663 1991
4 Willie Wilson .289 628 1988
5 Mike Moustakas .296 614 2012
I wasn’t opposed to the two year deal Dayton Moore gave Frenchy last summer because I wrongfully assumed Myers was

going to be dealt in the off season for pitching, and hey, somebody had to play right field. I would have preferred one year but I kind of understood Moore’s motivation. Or at least I thought I did. As you know, Myers wasn’t dealt, and was several kinds of awesome this year.

Reasons to keep Myers down ranged from he needed to work on his defense to he needed to cut down on his strikeouts, and my favorite, he wasn’t on the 40 man roster. Whatever. The first two may have been legit but the third one was just noise and wasn’t offered up as an excuse until late in the season.

I found Moore’s comments about not wanting to block young pitchers in 2014 amusing since Frenchy’s contract did exactly that to Myers. If Myers does get traded (Trevor Bauer, anyone?) this winter I think 600 plate appearances for Frenchy next season is an easy prediction to make. Which means with no one to push him for playing time, and his successor no longer in the organization, another contract extension is likely coming.

Tags: Dayton Moore Featured Jeff Francoeur Kansas City Royals Popular Wil Myers

  • jimfetterolf

    Casual fans also know that ballplayers can make changes and up their game. A “serious” fan dubbed the Royals’ OF before ’11 as the “Worst Outfield Ever”, major fail for the stat folks. Frenchy may or may not be any good next year, all a matter of remembering what Kevin Seitzer did with him for ’11, just as Alex may suck if he reverts to being pull happy like early last year or Melky may revert if he gets fat again. Careers don’t take the field. Ask Felipe Paulino about that.