Royals fans love to hate Jeff Francoeur.
I must admit, despite having defended the signing (or more accurately, condemned the doomsday reaction of the fans), I wasn't thrilled by the addition, but is it possible he doesn't suck as bad as everyone thought?
(Very) early results are certainly positive.
Now, I must put out the disclaimer that even if Francoeur has an all-star caliber season, that doesn't mean his signing was necessarily advisable at the time, just as a "good" signing that turns out to have poor results wasn't necessarily bad.
However, no matter what you can say about Francoeur plate discipline or leadership or past abysmal numbers, you can't argue with what he's done so far.
.325/.370/.566 with an OPS+ of 162.
Now nobody -- probably not Dayton Moore or even Jeff Francoeur himself -- expects these numbers to continue over a full season, and some have correctly pointed out that he started off well last season too, but these hits and homers and RBI still count no matter what he does for the rest of the year. With every passing day, it gets that much harder to tank his numbers just like it get's that much harder for blogger-mancrush Kila Ka'aihue to get his numbers up to respectability.
Frenchy is fourth in the majors in RBI, which is an admittedly flawed statistic, but runs win baseball games and no matter how flawed it is, being 4th in the majors in RBI is never a bad thing.
Here's the real kicker: He's on pace for a whopping 54 walks -- which would shatter his career high of 42 -- and is striking out once every 6.6 plate appearances, compared to his career total of 1 K for ever 5.7 PA.
These are not "good" numbers, and obviously represent a very small sample size, but they certainly seem to support the talking point that Jeff Francoeur is willing to adjust his approach at the plate, and that adjustment appears to be producing better results. *insert Kevin Seitzer plug*
So do you still regret the signing at this point? If so, at one point would you begrudgingly admit it worked out OK?
Look at it this way, if the Royals signed a healthy 27 year-old former first round pick for a meager $2.5 million and 21 games into the season that player was putting up the numbers that Jeff Francoeur is putting up, but his name was Bill Johnson and he wasn't a former Brave, would bloggers still be complaining about how much he sucked? What if he was just regular, run-of-the-mill free-swinging player that wasn't called "The Natural" by SI?
The reality is, we need him right now.
Only two teams in the majors have scored more runs than the Kansas City Royals (I'll pause while you ponder that statistic), and if Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are going to continue to be productive, they need someone batting behind them that teams at least have to respect, and right now Jeff Francoeur certainly fits the bill.
Did I think he would be even half this good? Hell no. Do I think he will be hitting .325 come September? Probably not. But I'm happy to ride this train while it lasts.