Braves should show more patience with Francoeur

These are disheartening days for the Braves. For Jeff Francoeur in particular. For those who came to Turner Field to cheer him, but now who jeer him. When Mark Bowman, of MLB.com, wrote that this might be a pertinent time to consider locating another employer for him, oh, did that set off a firestorm! A flurry of conjecture.

Trade Jeff Francoeur? Homegrown hero? Onetime Sports Illustrated cover boy? Where did it all go?
Let me take you back to those Camelot days, when the Braves’ roster was plump with bright young prospects. There was a pod of them, all seeming to ripen at the same time. A sort of an informal Boy Scout troop of them, who went to each other’s weddings, and celebrated their togetherness like club members.
Remember their names, for some are long gone. Francoeur, Brian McCann, Macay McBride, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Langerhans, and two Canadians, Pete Orr and Scott Thorman.

McBride, traded to the Tigers, is recovering from arm surgery at Toledo. Orr and Langerhans are working on the Nationals’ farm team at Syracuse. Thorman has sort of disappeared from the screen. And we all know where McCann, Johnson and Francoeur, the subject of the moment, are, and of the three, McCann was the only unrated prospect in his early days on the farm. Remember? When the Braves offered both McCann and Francoeur long-range contracts last year, McCann took it and is signed through 2012.

Francoeur played the odds, and banked on going to the arbitration table calling his shots. His timing couldn’t have been worse. What followed is the season of remission.

He heard sounds coming from the stands at Turner Field he had never heard before. Boos and taunts, mild at first, but for a local favorite who had reaped nothing but adulation through high school at Parkview and two-and-a-half gaudy seasons with the Braves?

Where had it all gone?

Meanwhile, McCann was harvesting a national following for his bat, and for his backstopping. Most of it. You could steal a base on him, and he was no adagio at blocking low pitches. But he could hit, and so could Ernie Lombardi, whose career wasn’t based on backstopping.

But in the case of Francoeur, you ask where did it all go? Home runs, RBIs, and yes, strikeouts, as well? Last season it seemed the rest of the league had caught up with Francoeur’s habits, and what developed was a bottom-line .239 batting average and a mere 11 home runs. He didn’t strike out as often, but that was because his patience ran low and he swung at anything early and often.

While the Braves spent all manners of time waiting for two dear old relics to return to their days of pitching glory, patience ran low with Francoeur. Was it because he had taken off to Texas in hope that Rudy Jaramillo, the Rangers’ hitting guru, might help him return to glory? It was furtively done, and true, he also recommended Andruw Jones try the same “cure.” It has worked out better for Andruw. Francoeur now finds himself the subject of trade speculation. From hometown hero to hometown trade bait, perish the thought. I can’t see it. His market value has reached GM level.

Is there not enough patience to help him work his way through it? Whoever thought it could come to this for Jeff Francoeur. (In closing, let me apologize for referring to John Smoltz and Tom Glavine as “relics.” But it takes one to know one.)

177 comments Add your comment

Larry

May 29th, 2009
6:41 pm

Mr. Bisher,

I think the world of your writing and loyalty, but I fear the latter has blinded your good judgment! If you can just for a moment seperate the emotion from the opinion, cleary you must see a highly noticable flaw in Francoeur’s swing. More candidly, he has one of the most unnatural, awkward looking swings in the game and truly exemplifies the term “hacker” that defines one who swings freely and wildly with little or no idea about where the ball is or will be when it crosses the plate.

He’s a good kid, with a good arm and is pretty good defensively, but even an average major league hitter he will never be.

61 year Braves Fan

May 29th, 2009
6:57 pm

Jeff has never learned the strike zone. Moves his head and tries to kill every pitch. Has no patience
to work a pitcher. He swings on the same plane no matter where the pitch is and gets himself out by
swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. The fact that he has regressed is another indication of what
I have always suspected. Terry Pendelton is a lousy hitting coach. Jeff could use a year at Double A
level and if he doesn’t improve, release him.

JP

May 29th, 2009
7:00 pm

How much of Frenchy’s problem with the bat is Pendleton’s fault. He is waiting for Cox to leave and believes he is in line for the Top job. He is a joke. No one under his tutelage has gotten better. Before anyone says Chipper, STOP, he is and always has been a better hitter than Pendleton. TP needs to go and now, he bares alot of responsibility for this mess. PS……Why on earth is Buddy Carlyle in a major league uniform, IF he owns a jersey is should have come from the stadium shops not the clubhouse. If this Team doesnt care, why should we.

The Grinch

May 29th, 2009
7:16 pm

No slumping hitter is going to get better under Pendleton; it’s sad to say his only chance at a solid career is to go to another team. TP is an excellent fellow and was a good hitter in his day, but like the guy who’s real good at math but terrible at teaching it…well, let’s just say a change is in order.

Sage of Bluesland

May 29th, 2009
7:38 pm

Karma haunts yet another vaunted ‘Hometown Hero’.

Remember when ‘Frenchy’ (I hate that nickname) was in the draft pool? He informed many of the top-drafting (i.e. pitiful) teams that drafting him would be a waste, as he was on his way to Clemson to play football, etc.

Then, when the ‘good’ local team calls late in the first round, he reverses stance and signs up with the flavor-of-the-year!

Reminds me of when Todd Van Poppel, according to some the consensus top-pick, did the same thing back in 1990–and then punked when the Oakland A’s (a ‘hot’ team at the time) came calling late in the first round.

The lowly Braves–owner of that first pick–went with their second choice (or so it was said; as the Braves were stockpiling young arms by the boatload with all kinds of draft picks, both low and high)…That choice? Chipper Jones.

Van Poppel had a less-than-impressive career; the A’s were never too much of a threat from that point on (for sake of an argument); and the Braves went on to become a fairly good and consistently winning and contending team.

Karma strikes again, “Frenchy”…I hate that nickname…I also don’t cut any slack for Hometown Heroes–too much silly emotion clouds good judgment when it comes to dealing with them (Exhibit A to that is the most overrated, overpaid linebacker I’ve ever seen, one Keith Brooking…He of the ankle-grabs eight yards downfield…)

I’m glad Mr. Bisher finally woke up and contributed an article…It’s good to have you back!

Sage of Bluesland

May 29th, 2009
7:42 pm

Oh, and one more thing, as far as the hitting coach goes, things will never get better until Bobby ‘Wait-for-the-three-run-homerun’ Cox is gone.

Clarence Jones, I mean Terry Pendleton? Give me a break. Same song, different verse…Same conductor.

Same results.

No pressure on the opposing pitchers.

Wild swings and untimely strikeouts.

No steals and certainly no ‘A-B-C’ baseball.

Same results.

The definition of insanity, indeed…

Ron Roberts

May 29th, 2009
7:46 pm

He worked w/Texas’ hitting coach over the summer, had a good spring and good start to the season, early; he fell off-track in a road series at Philadelphia, and Coach Terry Pendleton hasn’t yet gotten him back on-track.

Seems to me when coached, Francoeur responded in the off-season. Now he’s unable to work with the Rangers’ hitting coach, so he has only the BRAVES’ hitting coach to work with, and the results speak volumes.

JAKE

May 29th, 2009
8:03 pm

I think if we had a true big bat in the outfield it would take a load of the pressure off of Frenchy. he needs to settle in to being .260, 15 to 20 bombs, and 90 to 100 ribbies. if we had just one more big bat he could settle in to his true potential,which is not as lofty as everyone wants it to be. too much is expected of him alot like Andruw, I’ve always said the worst thing to ever happen to Andruw was hitting 51 bombs, he(frenchy) is what he is, if he goes to Boston do you think they’ll expect anything? Frenchy if you’re reading these blogs like they say you are; first of all, STOP! and second, keep your chin up….here are some numbers for you; Dale Murphy in 1988 160 games, .226 avg 24 bombs, 77 RBIs , 313 obp. chew on that for an atlanta legend, there were other similar yrs. he was my hero as a kid. maybe that’s a bad point considering that was after he won 2 straight mvps….. but just keep trying and not everyone in atlanta has given up on you

Chop It Up All-star

May 29th, 2009
9:22 pm

JP, I don’t necessarily disagree with you about Pendleton, but Francoeur went down to Texas and worked with a quote, unquote “hitting guru” and he looks worse than he ever has. Seems to me at some point you have to point the finger at the student and not the teacher.

We’re not in the locker room, and as DOB pointed out, not one player has ever criticized TP for his teachings or his method. Maybe, just maybe the guy (Francoeur) is getting in his own way and needs a change of scenery (e.g. the bench, AAA or a new ballclub altogether) until he can figure it out.

the truth...

May 29th, 2009
9:37 pm

Maybe we need to swap Jeff for one of the top prospects in Gwinnett and let him get his head straight….and make no mistake the problem is between his ears, not in his physical makeup…

Do any of you remember back in ‘91 when the young Braves were scrappin’ and we were tomahawkin’ and chanting that lovely battle cry?…remember how a very young John Smoltz had similar problems?… but John’s were on the mound throwing the baseball…

Jeff’s are at the plate….

A fellow named “Jack Llewelyn” was enlisted to help John get his head on straight…I’d say it was money well spent…

Anyone remember Jack sitting behind the plate in the stands with his red shirt on so John could get his focus back from time to time?

So my proposal is bring back Mr. Llewelyn and help Jeff get hold of that part of him that has always been the winner he is…

I see where Jack gets $20,000 bucks a pop for a speach these days (or at least the folks that book him do)….so let’s see at maybe $10K per game what does that work out to…???? hmmmmmmmmmmmm 1.62 big ones per year?

I’d say that would be a small price to get Jeff’s head screwed on right again…and I bet he’d take a package deal that would be a win-win…for both the Braves and Mr. Llewelyn….and of course for us fans…

Consideering the Red Sox paid $50,000,000 just for the rights to negotiate with DiceK I think that is well worth a venture…remember a Chipper or a Texeira rakes in $15-20 million a year….so let’s get to working on Jeff’s…

Anyone know Jack’s number?….ok Schuerholt….ring him up now, time’s awasting…

the truth….

bob

May 29th, 2009
10:20 pm

Play Kelly Johnson in CF, put Prado at 2nd until Infante returns and play Diaz more in lf

lagnamor

May 29th, 2009
11:50 pm

Bisher Please, How long you want to wait. Frenchy is a joke and has had special treatment ever since he’s been here.. Bobby Cox kisses his A@@ and leaves him in every game no matter what. TP and Cox both need to be fired and replaced by Ned Yost . Let Yost clean house and hire his own coaches. Time for all relics to hang it up.

braveshater

May 30th, 2009
1:20 am

Patience my ass. He sucks, how many more years does it take to figure that out. Get real!

Bravesfan-1995isover

May 30th, 2009
2:19 am

Mr. Bisher,

The problem is not all with Jeff. I have a much bigger problem with our hitting coach, Terry Pendleton. I have never, during a game, seen T.P. go up to one of our guys and give him positive reinforcement. I have never heard a player, with the exception of Gregor Blanco, say T.P. has helped him.

Why do our guys have to go to Texas to get instruction? Because T.P. is clearly incompetent. I think a better hitting coach could fix a lot of his (and the rest of the team’s) woes. It isn’t 1991 anymore. It was a good run, but the nostalgia has to go.

These new faces can’t succeed until the old faces stop getting in the way.

Bravesfan out.

froggy

May 30th, 2009
2:24 am

Furman: From a long-ago colleague, glad you are one relic who is still swingin’! But, hey, pay attention to these posts and banter back from time to time. Makes it all more lively.

Jake, sorry, and to paraphrase Billy Martin ridiculing comparing Reggie Jackson to Willie Mays, Frenchy couldn’t carry Murf’s jockstrap. Dude was an awesome ballplayer in all phases, and if the crappy Astroturf fields back then in St. Louis, Philly, Montreal, Cincy, etc, had not destroyed his knees Lord knows what numbers he would have put up to perhaps get him to Cooperstown.

Anybody remember Brad Komminsk? Jeff F. unfortunately has the same stiff, lurching, hacking style at the plate. Sorry to say, stardom is not likely to happen for him. Unfortunately, the ranks are thin in replacing him.

uga-brave

May 30th, 2009
2:29 am

furman,

once again you have proved yourself.

the dude is done. i know he talked to to you last year. said it wont happen again.

he is right. the numbers are not a slump or a trend.

he is a .240 .600 .ops guy.

he has no power or speed. the sample size proves it.

3000 plate appearances prove it.

cmon furman you are a long time evaluator of talent.

let it go.

the guy is somewhat of a excuse maker.

cant be his fault. beeched about hitting in front of schafer.

for once in his career could he say i stink.

maybe going down is best for me and this organization.

well that ego wont let it happen.

that is why most braves fans have turned on him.

nobody likes a guy that will not admitt their short comings.

plus he is jealous of macc’s success.

uga-brave

May 30th, 2009
2:50 am

furman,

by the way dave braine has put your beloved yellow jackets in a major hole.

mr. radojaic, spelled really wrong, from lsu has told several people the the georgia tech athletic budget might need tarp funds.

their new motto should be come see tech play virginia and bring a friend.

that should put 40,000 in bobby dodd.

how about scheduling teams outside the conference.

how about going home and home with arizonia state, oklahoma state, or colorado.

yeah, i know tough to do. you gotta play duke, n.c state, miami, and clemson. that darn jaybo sweeney.

what a conference.

paul hewitt? different day.

A Patient Fan

May 30th, 2009
3:53 am

BRAVO FURMAN

Furman, I couldn’t agree more!

Yes fans, lets give Jeff more of a chance — in exhibiting some real patience. After all the season’s only a little more than a quarter over.

He has shown some signs of coming around — in spurts granted. But signs nonetheless.

Keep in mind too, that Jeff — as of Friday night’s action — is 2nd on the Braves in RBI’s with 23 (Kotchman and Escobar are tied with 24) and third in total bases with 65 (behind Escobar with 71 and Kotchman with 69). That’s ahead of Chipper, McCann, and Johnson in both categories!

It surely must have easier to play in pre-blog days. I hope at least that Jeff is staying away from reading internet newspapers.

Except for Furman’s article that is.

Hang in there Jeff! There are fans who are pulling for you!

And do continue to keep in contact with Rudy, showing patience yourself in keeping with his instruction!

yogi2

May 30th, 2009
4:47 am

FRANQUER IS A JOKE.JUST RELEASE THE BUM. SHAFER,NORTON,FRANQUER,AND JOJO SHOULD BE BANNED FROM BASEBALL FOR IMPERSONATING REAL PLAYERS

bravos for life

May 30th, 2009
5:31 am

More patience? What is more patience than the past 3 years?

Keef1234

May 30th, 2009
5:34 am

what I find most disturbing is Jeff’s arrogance! You CAN have arrogance if you’re Ted Williams…Somehow he flew thru the minors–and picked up bad habits until opposing pitchers figured him out. The Braves sent him to the minors where he belonged, JEFF WHINES AND CRIES and then he is brought up! 3 games was NOT enough. 3 MONTHS in the minors maybe. Its partially the Braves fault for coddling him…

The Grinch

May 30th, 2009
6:04 am

GREGOR BLANCO is the only one who credits TP with help? The guy can’t even hit at Gwinnett! I rest my case.

Braves Fan

May 30th, 2009
6:21 am

I still do not understand the reasoning on getting rid of JF. You are not going to get much. Send him to the minors to try to correct the problems. If Jeff does not take that well again, he needs to to have some mental adjustment and then work on the swing. He should have stayed down last year for at least two months. I blame the Braves for not leaving him down. Too many young prospects are gone. You can’t get a big bat for JF, unless you put in one or two frontline prospects. The Braves can ill afford to do this. We also don’t need a big bat that is a rental or is 38 years old. It is time to show some patience and take a gamble on Jeff, not some old retread.

bob

May 30th, 2009
6:27 am

The problems are too deep to fix with a dump Frenchy movement.

1. Chipper will be hurt again this year.

2. KJ will continue to be a streak hitter.

3. LF will produce neither speed nor power.

4. TP will not be able to ‘cure’ JS of his strikeout sickness.

5. Management will trade Medlin and others for some short term fix. This is the reason Medlin is in the majors….to showcase to other teams.

Braves do not need a short term fix….the team needs a complete overhaul.

BC and TP must go. BC was spoiled by a great rotation and is making decisions based upon his memories of players past and not of rookies and players into the future. TP has done nothing for any hitter on the team.

Ron E.

May 30th, 2009
6:37 am

The Braves could have patience with Francoeur if he were a slick fielding 2nd baseman or shortstop. His hitting is totally unacceptable for a corner outfielder and it’s getting worse year by year. The Braves can’t keep running him out there to strikeout or hit into a double play with runners on base if they are still hoping to contend this year. It’s time to move on. Outfielders who can hit better than Francoeur is hitting this year are a dime a dozen and replacing his “production” shouldn’t be difficult.

johnny bravo

May 30th, 2009
6:41 am

he needs to be patient down in the minors, more than a couple days too, either he can hit at this level, or he can’t.

Loyal

May 30th, 2009
6:59 am

You want my thoughts on Jeff? Check out this blog I wrote. While there, feel free to look around at our other blogs

http://tsdovertime.wordpress.com/

ElonBrave

May 30th, 2009
7:13 am

You’ve got some nerve, Bisher…

ElonBrave

May 30th, 2009
7:14 am

Ok. That was harsh. It’s just that we’ve waited for the last three seasons… a little hard to take being asked to wait longer. This isn’t a slump, it’s a body of work.

Woolz

May 30th, 2009
7:21 am

Enter your comments here

James Johnson

May 30th, 2009
7:23 am

I think Jeff needs to either be sent across town to Gwinnett until he can prove he can hit, or traded for a prospect. Clearly he is not going to get better by hacking away at every pitch sent his way. He has never adjusted to the major leagues and every scouting report has him figured out. In the meantime Diaz is sitting on the bench ready to knock the cover off the ball every time he comes up. Time to let the egos go and think about the team. And we don’t need another future Yankee after one year – we to develop young talent.

Woolz

May 30th, 2009
7:28 am

The problem isn’t Francour, KJ, or JoJo or any of the other guys. It is management. At what level I don’t know. But either the wrong players are getting to the Majors or they are being mishandled when they get there. It is one or the other or as I suspect, both. That is what you Mr. Bisher should be talking about. Heck, all these ballplayers want to succeed and should know how to play the game. How come they can’t play consistent good baseball? Something is in their way.

Drixie

May 30th, 2009
7:58 am

Mr. Bisher:

It’s heartwarming that you want to give Jeff more time, but how do you support your argument? Just saying this does not make Jeff a better hitter. He has tremendous natural talent, but he also seems to be trying to carry The Braves, something he cannot do with his lack of major league hitting ability. He seemed to be turning a corner at the beginning of the season, but has reverted back to old (bad) habits. Having Jordan Schaefer hitting behind him has only worsened his hitting – pitchers can play with Jeff in and out of the strike zone because they know 1) he will swing at mostly anything, and 2) if he does get onbase, Schaefer will strikeout, and then comes the pitcher’s spot.

Marty Perez

May 30th, 2009
8:10 am

The problem has been that there has been way too much patience on the part of management. Francouer is simply a bad player and has been so for several years. His lack of power and inability to get on base is remarkable when one considers how much playing time he has received. He won’t get any better. His bat is slow. He’s stubborn. He’s really not very bright, even by baseball standards. And he doesn’t take responsibility for himself. His sense of entitlement is only encouraged by the enablers like Bisher and people on this blog who make excuses for him and want to lay the blame on Pendleton.

thom

May 30th, 2009
8:14 am

Furman Bisher and Terance Moore are two of the most despised people in the state of Georgia. I really thought the AJC had parted ways with both of these individuals. Unfortunately I was wrong. Dr. Thomas Johnson

Mark C.

May 30th, 2009
8:18 am

TP isn’t the problem. It’s the players. He can’t make Francouer swing at strikes and he can’t make Schafer ready for the majors. Like Roger McDowell last year,

varodrunner

May 30th, 2009
8:19 am

Patience? Oh come on now….. How long should we be patient while he will not adjust. For a brief period when he did not swing for a homerun to left on every swing, he looked ok, just ok. But now that the old Jeff is back and trying to pul everything, he stinks.

Maestro

May 30th, 2009
8:24 am

Brad Komminsk!! Good call! I’m still laughing and I couldn’t agree more with the comparison. Yes, we must be patient with young Mr. Francouer. We must not rush him to order what he wants from Waffle House for the meal he be eating on the bus that will haul his sorry carcass outa Dodge. Bisher, when are you going to hang it up? You haven’t saved enough money over the years to pay your own way to the Kentucky Derby and the Super Bowl? Give up that press pass and take the same bus Frenchy’s taking. Sionara!!!

Shoeless Joe

May 30th, 2009
8:25 am

Mr. Bisher:
Patience is a virtue but in Jeff’s case it’s getting rather expensive. His current $3MM+ salary places a premium on current performance. Braves management overeacted to last years pitching woes by overcommitting in that department in the offseason, leaving few resources to shore up position player shortcomings. Bobby Cox believes solid pitching covers up shortcomings on offense and defense. Frank Wren seems to agree with him since he provided two additional top of the line rotation additions in the offseason. Now Bobby has to earn his salary by proving that his philosphy still holds true in a division with offensive powerhouses like the Phils.

varodrunner

May 30th, 2009
8:29 am

After reading this article/column I think it’s time for Furman to mosey off to wherever it is that washed up columnists go. This is strictly the ramblings of an out of touch old man. Andruw Jones is having a decent year because he is there with Jaramillo and not here with Pendleton. If we had Jaramillo here, Jeff would be better, but Jeff cannot defeat those demons in his head that tell him to pull every pitch, regardless its location.

What was the point of this article?

country boy

May 30th, 2009
8:30 am

Thank you for your view Mr. Bisher. My thought is that perhaps Francour is a scapegoat at some level for this poor team. Yes I know he is floundering but almost our entire lineup of position players is too. We have a lineup of midlevel (at best) and lower level major leaguers with no speed and no power. If we rid ourselves of Francour will it really make Anderson,Johnson,Kotchman,Schafear,Diaz,Norton, Prado, Infantae….. improve ??? Our problems go much deeper than just JF. And I agree with others that TP should be removed NOW and Bobby should have proudly retired at least two years ago.

Reno

May 30th, 2009
8:33 am

Mr. Bisher,
Francoeur’s problem is very likely that he cannot “see” well enough to hit major league pitching with any consistency. Recall his minor league facial fracture(s). Last summer it was reported in AJC sports pages that Francoeur had experienced some “deterioration of his visual acuity” since the time of the previous injury. It was “to be looked into.” Nothing more that I know of has been reported or mentioned anywhere publicly about this possibility. I believed that sadly, over time, Jeff’s ability to visually “track” the flight of the baseball (both at the plate and in the field) has diminished. And this to the point where the former budding star cannot now “recognize” pitches with any consistency (nor make even the occasional “spectacular catch” in the outfield). Surely, the “raw” physical abilities that catapaulted this local hero to the edge of national stardom in his early 20’s could not have deteriorated so rapidly as to explain his current difficulties on the diamond at age 25!
Inability to “see” and “track” pitches readily explains Francoeur’s “impatience” and “jumpiness” at the plate. You’d be “nervous” too, if you had 90+ mph fastballs coming at you that you could not visually “pick up” and “track” clearly. I would bet that in an honest moment, Jeff would admit that he doesn’t see the baseball like he used to. He probably rarely, if ever, picks up “spin” so as to enable him to differentiate pitch type. I doubt that he even remembers clearly those “heady” early days when pitches probably looked like “basketballs” lobbed up to him, at least occasionally. I would readily bet that in 2009, every pitch that Frenchy (and his diminished visual tracking abilities) “sees” challenges him as would an approaching “missile” Everything looks like a “fuzzy aspirin tablet.”
Consider McCann’s recent difficulties “hitting” when his vision deteriorated a bit. New glasses, “voila,” he’s back! (It is not likely near so simply remedied in Francoeur’s case. I fear that his problem would not be amenable to “corrective lenses” or surgical fixes. My guess is that Jeff’s is a “nerve-related” problem.) Frightfully, recall the case of Red Sox darling Tony Conigliaro from days gone by.
One corresponding phenomenon that is so obvious with Jeff is that one night he seems to have decided beforehand that he will swing at every first pitch regardless of location. He probably has in mind the hope that it will be a relatively “straight” fastball that he can time and get his aggressive bat upon. After going 0 for 4 for the night, and grounding out to second base twice with runners in scoring position (on the first pitch both times, no less), the next night ( after being “scolded” by TP, Bobby and/or various sports writers), Jeff obediently “lays off” the first pitch. On these nights, however, it seems that the first pitch is always a hittable fastball right down the middle. Now the even more nervous (and angry) Frenchy is facing an 0-1 count (which feels to him like 0-2). Now the real fun begins (for the pitcher, unfortunately). Typically, pitchers will then work Jeff in on his hands (”fouled” away); then up above his neck (”checked” swing, barely); and then, to finish him, something 8 inches off the outside of the plate, often in the dirt (swing and a miss, or weak grounder to right side).
Night after night of this would make any of us into the “head case” that Jeff is purported to have become!
One last point, note that Jeff never makes a “spectacular catch” any more. Oh, he gets “close.” But the “catch” is never made. Not even once and a while, which the law of averages would favor (even crappy fielders catch a surprise once and awhile). Note also that he never “dives” for anything in front of him or to his side as most right fielders, in particular, are seen to do. Again, Jeff isn’t able to clearly “track” balls in flight with adequate confidence and accuracy so that it becomes “second nature” for him to make aggressive attempts at making a play. Also note, he pursues the occasional possibly “catchable” ball near the top of the fence (”Otis Nixon” balls) more aggressively than he pursues “iffy” balls in front of him or to his side. Subconsciously (?consciously) he knows that failed but valiant efforts to make a play on potential “fence-toppers” is much more acceptable to teammates and coaches than “flops” on balls in front or to the side. (”Cost/benefit” ratio considerations.)
Oh, last thing, really. Someone should check Francoeur’s daytime BA vs. night-game BA. I would bet that it is telling, as well. His “improved” spring training stats were based mostly on day-game plate appearances. It’s likely that sunlight gives him an even greater advantage over night-game conditions than it does the average player. But, the bottom line remains, “You can’t hit what you can’t see.” At least, you can’t hit well with consistency what you can’t see well with any consistency. Not at the MLB level, anyway.

Wife’s sending me to store. Hope that you read this, Mr. Bisher. Frank Wren needs to do some thinking about this situation.
Reno

stew

May 30th, 2009
8:35 am

Mr. Bisher,

I wonder how you ever got a job at AJC. Your column is filled with sentence fragments. It is filled with all sorts of grammatical errors.”For Jeff Francoeur in particular.”, “For those who came to Turner Field to cheer him, but now jeer him.”, “A flurry of conjecture.”, “Homegrown hero?”, “Francoeur, Brian McCann, Nacay McBride, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Langerhans, and two Canadians, Pete Orr and Scott Thorman.”, “Most of it.”, and “Home runs, RBIs, and yes, strikeouts. as well?” are all sentence fragments. Did you ever take “English Composition 101″ in school? Or better yet, did you ever go to school? Moreover, there are run on sentences throughout your column. Does anyone at AJC oversee what you write? You shouldn’t be allowed to express yourself if you don’t know how to do it. Please, if there are higher ups at AJC reading this, I implore you to fire this mental midget.
More importantly, you don’t seem to get it. “Frenchie’s” time with the Braves has come and gone. His arm is his one redeeming quality. Other than that, he can’t hit for average or power, run the bases, score runs, or cover any ground in right field. He is clearly not the five-tool player we thought he was when he broke in. In addition, I recently read something you wrote about how the Braves have no talent coming up. I think your ideas are idiotic and you have no clue about the current state of the Braves. Please get the f— out of the business.

dobearsbare

May 30th, 2009
8:38 am

For what it’s worth, Scott Thorman started the season with the Rangers Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City and was traded to the Royals and now is in with Omaha. In 20 games, he’s hitting .200. Oblivion, indeed.

jerry

May 30th, 2009
8:49 am

Every starter in the Yankee lineup has more HR’s than any Braves player. How’s that for a talent gap?

journalist jimmy smith

May 30th, 2009
8:58 am

whoa! don’t be so hard on the beaver, uh, furman bisher. furman is one of this journalist’s heroes. have read everything bisher has written for many years and furman always informs and entertains. jimmy smith never missed the college football show on local television with the coaches and with furman and outlar and minter and mehre. furman has earned furman’s place as dean of sportswriters (of course, sportswriters and all writers are dropping like flies at the ajc :-) ). great body of work over a long distinguished career. much like this journalist, only different.

now, baseball . . . norm van brocklin said, “you can’t coach intelligence.” was that football? either the player is smart enough to understand and accept coaching – or the player is not. francoeur appears uncoachable. much like andruw for two seasons. is it the coach? or is it the player? won’t take coaching and won’t take a pitch. never competes with a pitcher – always swinging and always behind in the count. has a few “holes” but not pointed out by chipper like chipper pointed out the “holes” of the rookie, schafer. francoeur shows off the arm and allows runners to advance with ill advised throws. yes, jimmy smith thinks it is time for another player in right field. last year francoeur failed with the bases loaded how many times? and bobby kept sending francoeur up there. again, ill advised. go figure.

and this blog has a radio personality and the grinch blogging here. like old times, only different.

if anyone’s vision (and judgement) needs checking . . . might start with wren and with bobby. doesn’t bobby see how this is working (or not working) from the dugout? must have something pre-occupying bobby in the dugout. can’t pick out what that is, though. :-)

last journalist out at the ajc, please turn off the lights.

Booger

May 30th, 2009
9:04 am

Enter your comments here

jerry

May 30th, 2009
9:14 am

The Braves (Wren) offered Frenchy a long term contract last year? Questions: Who was dumber? Wren or Frenchy?

Paul in Houston

May 30th, 2009
9:25 am

J.P. and 61 Year Old Brave Fan are right on.
I think the Braves rushed Francoeur to the majors before he had
time to develope at the minor league level.
I don’t think he can handle the pressure of being the Hometown Hero.
The Brave’s line-up has not been one to faer in many years,and
the hitting coach has to share some of the blame.

c alton

May 30th, 2009
9:28 am

The one thing Jeff needs is a take sign, every opposing pucture knows when he comes up with men on base do not even get close to the strike zone.