Apr 6, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur (21) doubles during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Francoeur isn’t burning through American League pitchers at the moment, but he’s certainly doing enough to turn his critics snide remarks into more of questions of disbelief.
For instance, opening day, Frenchy went 2-for-4, which caught a few Royals fans by surprise considering his rather dull spring training numbers.
But, the most surprising thing with Francoeur’s numbers, for the moment, is the way he’s getting them. As of late, Frenchy has actually shown decent restraint on pitches out of his hitting zone. Granted, he’s always going to be the lumber-jack style, free swinging hitter at the plate, but for now, he’s showing a decent approach.
It’s not even that Francoeur is being any more or less selective I should say on unhittable pitches, but once Frenchy decides to swing and actually makes contact, the ball is jumping off his bat. Frenchy’s swing is a combination of relaxation, smooth and destructive explosiveness all in one.
Take his at-bats in the series against Minnesota. That double he ripped to left center to hit hard. I mean so hard the outfielder completely turned his back to the infield in order to make a dead sprint to the wall where the ball would be waiting for him. Anytime an outfielder’s numbers on the back of his jersey are clearly showing, you know the pitcher wants that pitch back. If you aren’t satisfied with that at-bat, take his home run on Wednesday night. Not only did Frenchy drop the bat-head to the ball in a hurry, but he did it with a purpose. Sure, you can gripe about the pitch being just above his shoe laces, or that it still doesn’t change that Francoeur is hitting .286 with only one walk and six strikeouts. However, you can’t complain about lack of production at this point in the season.
By no means is this enough to change the overall perception that Frenchy just isn’t meant to be an everyday player, especially for the Royals, but at least he’s producing in the moment. The Royals are 6-3 with Francoeur playing a role throughout many of those wins. My advice, enjoy it while it lasts.