Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Next Dale Murphy gets shipped to the Mets

Jeff Francoeur, an outfielder for the Braves for last 5 years, was traded to the Mets for Ryan Church. The Mets really really need offense, having been shut out 5 of their last 17 games. Franceour was productive early in career, but his numbers have been ugly the last two seasons, really ugly:

2005-2007

1550 AB: 62 HR, 253 RBI, .280 avg.
HR/25 AB, RBI/6.12 AB

2008-2009

903 AB: 16 HR, 106 RBI, .242 avg.

HR/56 AB, RBI/8.5 AB

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In 2008, out of 147 players who qualified for the batting title, his OPS of .653 (On Base + Slugging) was 142nd, 6th worst in the league. For a player compared to Dale Murphy early in his career, this is a stunning fall (he also grew up in the Atlanta area).

In 2009, out of 167 players who currently qualify, he is again 6th worst in OPS at .634. If he can regain his home run stroke of 2006 and learn to walk a little, he might be ok again. Considering the Mets are dead last in the league in Home Runs, if he could provide any power at all, this might be considered a good trade. Maybe.

The player he was traded for, Ryan Church, is more steady, but probably has less upside.

His batting average the last 5 years: .287, .276, .272, .276, .280. He's only had one season with more than 102 games played and never hit more than 15 home runs, but he is solid.

Basically, the Mets are desperate for offense and they could get Franceour without giving up much. He has been one of the worst hitters in the league the last two years, so it would be shocking for him to revert back to his form in 2006-7 immediately. He clearly has talent; he wasn't compared by so many people to Dale Murphy for nothing. In his favor is that he is only 25, has proven success and a new team that apparently believes in him.





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