Is he just buying time for the farm to get up to the bigs? I don’t mind Frenchy on the team. Is the issue the commital of a roster spot? Or that he deserved the spot, just less than 2.5M? Maybe 1-1.5M?
I believe he means that a third of the league is below average, because if you look at the WAR leaders by position (at least for last season, a cursory glance tells me), typically 17-20 will be at or above 2.0 WAR. If that is true, then he is correct that average position players do not grow on trees. Average does not equal replacement level however, and replacement level players by definition are found to be of arboreal origin.
A word to the wise from someone with over 4 decades of intense passion for MLB baseball.
The reason teams like the Phils, Dodgers, Rockies and others continue to have interest in Francoeur is because he has the ability to succeed. He already has and at 26 he’s still a very young man. I shrug in exasperation when I read threads such as this relying on stats as if heaven-sent predicting the future. Human beings are not static, they grow, develop and change and that’s not something any stat can measure, ever.
Many of you are a lot younger than I and haven’t witnessed enough of these things in baseball and elsewhere to see these processes evolve through maturation. There’s an excellent chance Frenchy .will have many successful seasons in the coming years and that includes power, run production, BA and plate discipline to combine with very solid defense. Francouer was drafted in the first round and a Baseball America 14th ranked prospect in 2005, because he has the ability and delivered in his first two and a half big league seasons. Anyone who thinks A 26 year old, soon to be 27, is washed up, is in need of enlightment.
Comment by LongTimeFan — December 8, 2010 @ 9:39 pm
KillerB: Just because a relatively large number of players performed at below replacement-level doesn’t mean that their *true talent* is below replacement. That’s why Matt uses data from 2008-10. On a year to year basis, a lot of people will perform below their talent-level – the proof that replacement-level exists is in the larger samples.
Longtimefan wrote: “Anyone who thinks A 26 year old, soon to be 27, is washed up, is in need of enlightment.”
If that were the case, you would surely have some examples to give us, right? Because I would love to know how many 26 year-old replacement-level players with below-average bats (and a statistically significant sample of PAs to support those designations) have even managed to become *average* players.
My guess? Very few.
Those who think he’s washed-up aren’t in need of enlightenment – they’ve seen the data, and they know that history is not in Francoeur’s favor.
Hey Neil S- what about Garrett Atkins last year for my O’s? He had sucked for the past few years but had that glimmer of past success that enticed our GM’s investment of just a few mil. And look what happened! He… played a few months before crashing and burning out of baseball entirely. Or maybe LTF is thinking of Lastings Milledge. He had lots of glimmers of hope.
Human potential is unpredictable! Sure, there are Carlos Pena’s and Jose Bautista’s who eventually manage to live up to their potential, but paying millions for what amounts to a human lottery ticket just doesn’t make much budgetary sense the vast majority of the time.
Comment by Baltimore Joe — December 8, 2010 @ 10:04 pm
If wOBA and WAR are so important, then why don’t they put it up on the scoreboard?
That is Jeff Francoeur if you adjust each of his seasons to an equal BAbip. And that (after a short, early power spike he was never able to duplicate) happens to be about as consistent as you will probably ever find for a player in the game. For all his time in the league, for all the changes around him, for all the slight differences in his performance – he is basically the same exact player every single year without fail with BAbip being the only true fluctuation he ever sees.
So even if you believe with 100% of your heart that people are not static over periods of time; Jeff Francoeur is the exception to your rule.
Jeff Francoeur is the epitome of static; a perfect replay of the same exact crummy production year in and year out without fail. Fielders aren’t always able to field the same amount of his hits every year, but every year his production would be just short of identical if they did…
FYI – the above calculation does not even take into account IBB or HBP (outcomes which the hitter generally has little control over) and the XBH% adjustment which should be seen when adjusting hit totals. When you factor those three things into the equation as well, its even spookier consistency. Check this out:
.268/.295/.426/.721 – Career
Pretty remarkable huh? Outside the early power outburst you have a .260-.275 BA, .290-.300 OBP and .385-.415 SLG almost without fail.
Comment by Yuni Betancourt — December 8, 2010 @ 10:51 pm
It’s a bad signing but not a major one, the problem at it’s root ,besides all the statisitical arguments at it’s core it’s a bad signing due to the message Royals fans are receiving. “They still don’t get it” This might be no worse than a dozen other signings of late Bloomquist-Yuni et all but a fan base with the #1 loaded minor league system in the majors, a team ready to break out and make a long awaited run needs to see evidence that their GM can evaluate a major league player and understand somewhat advanced metrics like the other big league team. Dayton Moore is on the verge of trading a CY Young pitcher and we need to have some faith dude can make a good move at the major league level. This signing shows not only does he still not get it BUT he may even do these things to spite the critics of his previous moves. he’s pretty thin skinned.
The Royals will lead the league in clubhouse karma- we got that going for us
I think the thing that keeps attracting clubs to Frenchy is that feeling that he is one “learned” skill away from being a relatively useful player. We saw early in 10 that a modest spike in patience made a tremendous difference, it’s hard not to hope that one day that patience sticks and all the sudden 2.5-3 looks like a bargain. Don’t think it’ll ever happen, but I can understand the logic.
One thing that both scouts and common perception definitely seem to get right about Francoeur is that he still has a fantastic arm in right field – in 1070 innings there last year, his UZR ARM was an outrageous 8.8 and his DRS rARM was an even better 10! I doubt that those quite represent his true talent, but I love the idea of a one-win arm.
Francoeur probably could have been worth the money to a club that knew how to use him appropriately – i.e. in a platoon, where he would be mediocre but good enough – but the Royals don’t seem like the club that would use him that way even though they definitely could with so much left-handedness in their outfield. I also think that people are correct in arguing that with appropriate tutelage, he might conceivably learn some patience and become valuable, although the likelihood is admittedly slim. So yeah, there’s a large likelihood that he’s replacement-level and provides little more than depth, and a small chance that he improves and produces 1.5-2.5 WAR and shuts everyone up. It’s probably a reasonable enough deal.
Comment by AustinRHL — December 9, 2010 @ 12:19 am
Reminds me of the A’s with Bobby Crosby. “As soon as he figures out how to lay off that slider away. . . “
How many times do we have to go over this? ALthough fangraphs just absolutely loves to hate on Francoeur.
He is an slightly above average defender (basically average range with a plus plus arm) that hits lefties relatively well (career ..346 wOBA).
Career average wOBA for the three outfielders you mentioned against lefties
Blanco .273 Maier .323 and Gordon .292
Although it pains you to admit it but when teams are looking for utility roles, basically the two things they are looking for are ability to play defensive positions well or at least above average (for late game substitution) and also as a pinch hitter to act as a ‘lefty specialist’.
Francouer fulfills both of those. No team is trying to sign him as a cornerstone of their team or even a starter, so please stop hating on this.
Also, thanks for giving us your projections. Not really sure why numbers that you made up should mean anything to us.
That was unnecessarily harsh, Chris. Although I think that this deal was about market value and therefore totally defensible for the reasons you mentioned, there are also a lot of good reasons why this doesn’t make a lot of sense. There’s no scarcity of average defensive outfielders who hit left-handed pitching sort of well (remember that Francoeur’s .346 wOBA still needs to be regressed to a league average platoon split, so his true talent against them is probably lower than he’s shown) – the fact that Francoeur’s WAR for the last three years is 0.0 attests to that, doesn’t it? They should have been able to find an equally able player in the minor leagues or through a minor trade, and paid him the league minimum. For a team like the Royals that will not contend this year, it isn’t particularly a efficient use of resources to pay legitimate money to a utility- or platoon-type player. But it’s even worse than that, because Francoeur insists that his vision is of being an everyday player (which will only reduce his value because he’s below replacement level against right-handed pitching), and it’s fair to assume that the Royals told him that he would be one in order to persuade him to sign.
Also, as a rather hilarious (if not necessarily misguided) complement to this deal, the Royals have apparently signed the now-infamous and also ex-Brave Melky Cabrera, worth more than a win below replacement level last year and now universally despised by Braves fans, to a $1.25 million deal. I think there’s enough upside to make the contract better than a wash, but it remains highly amusing.
“The Francoeur contract is just another sign that Dayton Moore has yet to understand how to efficiently and effectively add necessary extra pieces to a team from the outside.”
Brutal understatement. What the Francouer contract demonstrates is that Dayton Moore HAS NO UNDERSTANDING WHATEVER of “how to efficiently and effectively add necessary extra pieces to a team from the outside.”
Can’t wait to hear what Rany has to say about this one.
My biggest problem with this is also a complaint about Matt’s take on a player: Dyson. I could say that Dyson can actually hit, but then people said that about Pena based on numerous small samples. But really the point is that Dyson really is a plus defender while Tony Pena was not. They should have gone into the offseason planning to play him.
However, I’m not sure they don’t, because Blanco has a huge platoon split and Maier’s swing would need to be overhauled to hit for any power at all. If all this is is overpaying for a righthanded platoon partner or Blanco in RF, while playing Dyson, I’ll be fine.
1. A non-contender should never pay the weak side of a platoon split multiple millions. Non-contenders shouldnt really even have such platoon players, they should be allowing young players to play against all pitchers so they can learn.
2. KC does not have a history of signing platoon players – they have a history of signing these types and playing them daily while their youth rides the pine or buses in the minors.
Until injuries forced a change, the Royals starting OF last season was Pods, Ankiel and DeJesus with Guillen at DH. On the bench/in the minors were Maier, Gordon, Blanco, Ka’aihue and Dyson – all players with more future in the league, making a fraction of the cost, that need the ML experience if they are ever to become the useful parts the team wants them to.
except he complains if he isnt playing full time, and was just signed to a contract which will pay him more then the other 4 Royals OFers combined. (well, until the Melky signing – now they have two Francoeurs!)
I know what you were referring to, and I am telling you that LongTimeFans post is anything but satire. He honestly believes what he posted, which is why I showed how static Francoeur has actually been the last 6 seasons.
This is a minor move. As long as the Royals continue to invest heavily in the draft, int’l, and development, $2.5M to Frenchy isn’t killing the franchise (not helping, but not killing).
Dayton’s off-season (and ultimately his tenure as Royals GM) really comes down to what he gets in return for Greinke. The return will most likely be the difference between the Royals being an average-good team or a good-great team in the next five years.
I know it’s hard for fangraphers to resist the temptation to slam Dayton. This move is just hilarious. But if we want to have a serious conversation about the Royals, and where they’re headed…Frenchy is irrelevant. The conversation is about the continued development of the “best system in years” and what Dayton can add to it with the Greinke trade
Comment by MoreHR's&LesNorman — December 9, 2010 @ 5:13 pm
So Bob Dutton’s report on the deal discusses at length Frenchy’s efforts to drop weight this winter. He claims after riding the bench in Texas that it motivated him to get athletic again. I will only note that while his UZR last year was okay, that was mostly attributed to his arm. The range component has been negative for three years in a row, so if he reports 20 pounds or so lighter from the past few seasons and gets the range back to neutral, he could have one of the better UZR numbers for an everyday RFer.
Will the weight drop result in him hitting at all? Probably not, but he might be able to beat out a few more ground balls or go for three a couple more times next season. Bill James projects a turnaround from last season, which appears to be mostly a regression to the norm for his BABIP.
The scary thing is that it’s quite possible he regains his athleticism and actually be worth the contract while still being a totally craptastic player.
I don’t think you are being fair to Omar Minaya. You said it yourself: HE GOT FIRED. He won. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter what feats of idiocy Moore performs after The Contest is over. It’s like saying that the Soviet Union could have won the space race by putting a bigger rocket on the moon in 1974. It isn’t a contest any more, it’s Dayton Moore in Cake’s ‘the Distance’.