Well, we still have to wait, don’t we? As it stands with one game to play, Francoeur has 76 hits in 252 ABs, which translates to .301587…302. I suspect Jeff will sit today, but if he bats more than once today, he’ll need at least 1 hit. Even if he gets 5 ABs, with 1 hit, he’ll be above .300.
The result isn’t really all that important. In fact, I’ll tell you a little secret: I picked .300 because it was a good focal point. When I first posted the contest, I estimated that if Jeff would hit .250 he would end up at around .309. That’s such an ugly number, so I fudged it and went with .300. And then I went with the “under,” even though I should have gone with the over. But it’s interesting to see how Jeff has done since August 11. He’s had 40 hits (22 singles, 11 doubles, 1 triple, 6 HRs) in 166 ABs putting up .241/.297/.428/.724 (thanks to David Pinto for his Day-by-Day Database).
What is important about his last 180 PAs is that Jeff regressed in a manner consistent with a .275/.322/.487 AA hitter. I expect Jeff to do good things in the future, but the expectations we have for him next season ought to be tempered. Time in AAA is a very real possibility, but certainly not a guarantee. And this is not to take anything away from the kid. He has played very well, and certainly deserves a TON of credit for the .419/.425/.802 he put up to start his big league career. You have to be good to do that, no matter what. And let’s not forget that he is a good baserunner and fielder who is blessed with athletic talent and intelligence. But, he’s going to have to adjust to the adjustments pitchers have made to him. I think he can and will do it. The kid is only 21! I will say that plate discipline must be part of his adjustment. While the league has had its share of free swingers, none have been sub-.300 hitters in the minors or majors. Without it, he won’t be able to show us that power.
Another interesting aspect of Francoeur’s early success is that it shows we need to better understand advance scouting. I still can’t understand how AA pitchers knew Jeff’s weaknesses, but it took major league teams 100 PAs to figure it out. Why did he get thrown strikes? Did pitchers ignore advance scout advice out or was the scouting just bad? In any event, someone should have dropped a quarter down to Southern League managers for pitching tips. There’s just no excuse to throw Jeff fastballs down the middle with 2 strikes, which is something I observed on several occasions.
Good luck, Jeff! I look forward to watching your future unfold.
Update: Frenchy goes 1-5, which takes his batting average for the season to .29961. Technically, I could call it “under,” but I don’t want to do that. It’s a push. How about that? An even .300. All of your reputations are returned intact.