Francoeur Meter

I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on my post on Francoeur’s out-production this season. Out of curiosity, I’ve found myself calculating his progress nearly every morning, so I just said, “what the heck!” and made a tracker.

Chasing History
(Single-season out record)

Player		Outs
Horace Clarke	514
Jeff Francoeur	499*

*projected for 2006

I do hope Jeff turns it around. He’s got to become better than a .250 hitter or learn to walk. And let me put this in perspective. I understand that Jeff is an extremely gifted athlete who is only 22; we shouldn’t be expecting a lot from him. In fact, he should be proud of what he has accomplished. I think the Braves are stunting his development by allowing, if not encouraging, his “aggressive” approach at the plate.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that the out record is a little more formal than I thought, and that Horace Clarke does not hold that record. I used the simple At-bats – Hits formula for hitting outs. I did not include caught stealing, double-plays, or sacrifices, but the “official” record does. So, the actual out champion is Omar Mareno, who in 1980 had 560 outs. Clarke’s 1970 season comes in second at 542. Updating Jeff Francoeur’s projected outs to include the additional categories puts him on a pace for 528 outs, good enough for seventh place, all-time. Although, some of these stats were not tracked going all the way back. I’ll continue to monitor the AB-H record, just because it’s simpler. I don’t like counting sacrifices or GIDP either. So, just be aware.

13 Responses “Francoeur Meter”

  1. rob says:

    some quick and dirty math: how many runs would a team of jeff francoeurs produce? quickly we can do this by extrapolating his numbers across the total number of outs a baseball team is given each year. figure a team gets about 4400 outs each year (162 games times 27 outs per game is 4374, and add some for extra innings and the like). right now jeff is on pace to drive in 115 and score 81 (and hit 28 hr). that means our team is made up of 8.8 jeffs if each creates about 500 outs. so, if we multiply jeff’s current rbi and runs scored pace by 8.8, then those numbers translate into 1014 runs driven in and 715 runs scored (and hit 246 hr). now, i know this is imprecise because franceour may not get on base enough to give himself enough opportunities to drive himself in (is this an abbott and costello routine?). but it may not be that far off. the hr total will be big, and the runs scored will probably be somewhere in the middle (between 715 and say 815). the high end of that would have put team franceour about 5th in mlb runs scored last year. the low end would put him 19th. reality probably falls somewhere in the middle. so maybe his, um, aggressive approach isn’t as bad as well all think. anyhow, i just crunched those numbers to see what would come out…..no real vested interest in franceour one way or the other.

  2. Jay says:

    JC,

    I happened to be reading a bit about “agressive” hitting today in Bill Felber’s The Book on The Book. In partictual, chapter two “The Most Underappreciated Words in Baseball”, where he makes the case that hitting early in the count (before 2 strikes) results in significantly higher batting average and slugging. Jeff’s numbers (like most hitters) bears this out. It occured to me that he may be a partially-patient hitter this year — that is, he patiently waits for the count to reach two strikes, then makes outs once he’s in a bad count.

    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on Felber’s theory that hitting early in the count is better. It certainly goes against the common wisdom about being a patient hitter. And it’s hard to imagine Jeff being less patient, but he’s a .390 hitter this year in counts with less than two strikes.

  3. Matt says:

    I would assume that part of the problem with that theory is that it does not necessarily have to do with plate discipline. If I’m reading it correctly, those numbers only include strikes in the count and ignore balls. As we all know, an 0-1 count is drastically different than an 2-1 or 3-1 count from the hitter’s perspective.

  4. Kevin Appleby says:

    Also, the .390 average doesn’t take into account the 1-strike counts where he swings and misses (or fouls one off), thus creating a 2-strike count for himself.

  5. Mike says:

    Jay – I’d bet any hitter looks pretty good with counts less than two strikes. All you’re really doing at that point is looking at their Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) plus their home runs. Adam Dunn is likely a .400 hitter (with a .600 OBP) in counts with less than 2 strikes.

  6. flournoy says:

    rob,

    Just use Runs Created.

  7. J. Cross says:

    rob,

    flournoy is right that we can just use runs created to do what you’re looking to do. According to espn.com’s stats Francoer is last among 23 qualifying right fielders in runs created per 27 outs with 3.87 (if you include all qualifying players he’s 165th out of 181).

    This means that after 85 games a team or Francoers would have scored 329 runs and be on pace for 627 for the season. Those 329 runs would be last in the majors including behind all the NL teams that hit a pitcher (the Cubs are closest with a mere 336 runs through 85 games). The 627 runs that Team Francoer is on pace for is less than any team scored last year but would beat out the ’04 Diamondbacks would only scored 615 runs.

  8. Tom says:

    If you use the lineup analysis tool over at baseballmusings.com, a lineup of all Jeffs would score somewhere between 639 and 650 runs. This would be about equivalent to the 2005 Nationals or (Barry Bonds-less) Giants–in other words, last or next to last in NL runs scored. Since the Braves are a NL team, this even overstates his impact some because the pitcher’s spot obviously provides less production.

  9. rob says:

    i love runs created and think it’s a fun way to do some analysis (and it’s pretty accurate when looking across a full team of different players). i’m not sure how to determine if it’s accurate on a per person basis. e.g., if we look at babe ruth, his rc is aroudn 2700, but he scored and drove in about 2200 in his career. i know this sounds circular, but go with me on this. rc proves out to be pretty accurate when looking across a team, but how do we know how close it is per player?

    e.g., if we look at runs created for a guy who goes 1 for 3 with a home run, a walk, and a caught stealing we get .63. how do we know that’s right (in this case on a per game basis)? don’t we know the guy actually created a full run that game by hitting a home run? seems so to me.

    and rc (by definition) heavily favors guys who get on base a lot (and dings a guy like franceour who doesn’t) and this is where my i say i’m being a bit circular but go with me, because we all seem to *know* that higher obp leads to more runs (i believe it too).

    but can a guy with a low obp still produce runs at a higher pace than rc predicts? i’d say not too often, but in franceour’s case this year maybe. the thing that is just not sitting right is that the guy is on pace to score 80 and drive in 115. if at season end we can *see* 195 runs that are attributed to him, might the runs created formula be off in this case? i mean, shouldn’t we include these things when sanity checking the rc number just to be sure we’re not witnessing an anomoly?

  10. flournoy says:

    Where are you getting 0.63 from? A one for three day with a HR, a BB, and a CS comes out to 2 with basic RC and 2.084 with advanced RC.

  11. rob says:

    i used linear weights instead of straight rc.

    Linear Weights: Runs = .47 1B + .78 2B + 1.09 3B + 1.40 HR + .33 (BB + HBP) + .30 SB – .60 CS – .25 (AB-H) – .5 (OutsOnBase)}. This means on average over the course of a season a home run is worth 1.4 runs.

  12. Vince says:

    Don’t know if anybody noticed this, but in Clarke’s 1970 season, he only struck out 35 times, and in fact led the league in at bats per strikeout (see link). He was just groundout, groundout, groundout.

  13. John says:

    What Rob seems to be suggesting in post 9 is that a “team of Jeff Francoeurs” might not be the only way to value Jeff Francoeur’s contribution to a team. Why not check what his contribution is to a pro forma line-up of average players filling out the other 8 spots in the batting order? This would generate his marginal contribution to a preexisting team. Instead of the less plausible scenario of cloning him 8 times and having him occupy every spot in the batting order.