When Jeff Francoeur broke into the big leagues back in 2005 with the Atlanta Braves, he looked like he was going to light up the scoreboard every night. The way he played that first 70 game season resulted in almost winning the Rookie of the Year while playing less than half of the season. Since that time, his offense has faltered and has never reached that level. What can he do to improve this season for the Kansas City Royals?
Francoeur is a dead pull hitter. The way he swings leaves him open for pitchers to get him out by pitching down and away. Even adjustments to remedy that have not improved his free-swinging tendencies. If he is ever to reach an extremely productive season again, Francoeur is going to have to strikeout less and be less aggressive at the plate. You hate to tell a guy to be less aggressive but in this case it is the only thing that might lead him to produce better.
Considering the fact that his average will likely be in the mid .200 range once again and he will strikeout well over 100 times, why is he still in the line-up for 150 plus games per season? That’s easy. He has been first or second in outfield assists in five of his eight seasons and is fifth among all active outfielders. His 19 assists led the American League last season. Why is he in the line-up every day? Because he still has a cannon for an arm, that’s why. He can save you several runs per three game series just by his defense.
Offensively he very well could struggle again. This is a contract year for him though so he might be more motivated to try new things to play better. Even if he does struggle with the bat, he’ll produce enough runs to add to the ones he saves with his arm to get himself a nice new contract next year.