Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Metsfan73's Take on #12

Numbers. What do they mean? Sometimes this isn't an easy question to answer, and from my perspective, this is one of those times.

During the off-season, and throughout a good portion of this season, all the Saber Metric geeks out there will say how bad a ball player Jeff Francoeur is. Now, his OBP is merely .302 and his batting average is a meager .253, but Jeff Francoeur is more than that.

He is arguably the best RF in the NL, with the best arm. He has earned a reputation where runners won't risk running against his rifle. Just ask his good friend and All Star MVP Brian McCann. Francoeur threw him out at third by 10 feet this past weekend.

Teammates? They love the guy. I remember during Spring Training Kevin Burkhard had Bay, Pagan, and Francoeur on his Mets Hot Stove show. Francoeur was all over new teammate Jason Bay, saying he was a world class Curler (remember, the Winter Olympics was still being played). He befriends teammates by keeping things light, just like another Met did not so long ago - Mike Cameron.

Ask David Wright what an asset Francoeur has been. Francoeur will talk to the press thus alleviating Wright from the daily barrage.

He is quick to put an arm around a teammate; smack him on the back; hi-five and shake hands. His is unbridled emotion.

Other than injuries, what is the difference between the Mets of '09 and '10? Team camaraderie and chemistry. This all began to change on July 10, 2009 when the Mets traded beleaguered RF Ryan Church to the Braves for Francoeur. Church was released by the Braves at season's end (2009), and latched on to lowly Pittsburgh.

The Mets now find themselves in the middle of a pennant race. Although Francoeur isn't having the season that Wright and Pagan are having, he is not a liability, and should not be benched when Beltran returns tomorrow.

Pagan, who is having a real solid season deserves to keep playing, but you watch how many people will be able to stretch an extra base due to the poor arm Pagan has.

Francoeur has earned the right to be platooned with Pagan. According to Metsfever, Francoeur is hitting .348 against lefties while Pagan is hitting .273. Against righties, Francoeur is an anemic .223 and Pagan is hitting .335. Problem solved: platoon the players. We must also remember we are going on the premise that Beltran will be the Carlos of old, which I hate to tell you, he won't be. I pray that he will, but with a chronically arthritic knee, I'm doubtful.

Metsfan73 take on #12 is this:

He can play for me any day any time. He is a gamer, and although not the best player on the team, his presence is so under appreciated and respected. Francoeur has been a God send for this club, but all the Saber Geeks can't get past what's on Baseball Reference, who by the way we thank for Francoeur's OBP.

Watch him every day, and you will see what a positive influence he is on this team.

I would rather have this #12 than these:

Sammy Drake - 1962
Cleon Jones 1965
Tommy Davis 1967
Ken Boswell 1968-1974
Lee Mazzilli 1976
Jeff Kent 1993-1996
John Sterans 1977-1984
Roberto Alomar 2002-2003
Willie Randolph - 1992, 2005-2008

Would you? I am talking about the quality of the players the years they played with the Mets, not what they later became. This in no way a slight against any of these players, just what they have brought to this team. Cleon Jones was dynamite and Sammy Drake a class act. But Jeff Francoeur has that special something that stats can't calculate: he has IT. He is a class act teammate and an elite RF. Let's respect what he is, and not what he doesn't achieve in his stats.

Thanks to the following for information: Mets By The Numbers, Mets Fever, and Baseball Reference.

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