The Royals signed Jeff Francoeur this past off-season in a move as predictable as the plot of Katherine Heigl rom-com. At the time, the tone of most writers was "he's not that great, but he once was good, so let's see what he does with a shot," while most Royals Reviewers groaned with disgust at yet another low-OBA player brought into The Process.
Then Francoeur showed up to camp "in the best shape of his life." He broke camp as the every day rightfielder and began to hit. It was amazing! The old Frenchy was back! He was hitting homers, goofing with the guys, providing immeasurable leadership, holding nude batting practices, and rapping guys in the nuts when they needed it. Old school baseball guys came out of the woodwork - "See! We told you Francoeur still had it!" For a few weeks at least, the snark and derision of the internet fanbase seemed amiss.
But we've seen this act before.
For whatever reason, Jeff ALWAYS gets off to a great start with his new team. He still has that "new car smell." He's the greener grass on the other side. He's the new hot chick in your class. Take a look at what he does with his first 60 games with his new teams:
First 60 games: 232 PAs 219 ABs 69 H 20 2B 1 3B 12 HR .315/.349/.580
First 60 games: 246 PAs 229 AB 71 H 15 2B 2 3B 7 HR .310/.337/.485
Even his short stint in Texas was remarkable:
15 games: 56 PA 53 AB 18 H 20 OB 2 2B 2 HR .340/.357/.491
First 60 games: 253 PAs 230 AB 62 H 15 2B 2 3B 9 HR .270/.312/.470
787 PA 731 AB 220 H 263 OB 52 2B 5 3B 30 HR .301/.334/.509
That's a pretty good hitter, even if the OBA is still a bit low.
What is eerie, is that the success seems to always stop at about the 60 game mark. Its like Francoeur hits the wall.
Next 571 games: 2400 Pas 2234 AB 585 H 109 2B 11 3B 66 HR .262/.305/.409
Next 139 games: 509 PA 461 AB 114 H 21 2B 2 3B 14 HR .247/.299/.393
And its early, but in Kansas City
Next 13 games: 56 PA 50 AB 10 H 15 OB 2 2B .200/.268/.240
2965 PA 2745 AB 709 H 898 OB 132 2B 13 3B 80 HR .258/.303/.403
Jeff Francoeur is the new hot chick in your class that after a month you find out is totally crazy (or to be less sexist, he's the cute guy that seems funny and sensitive until you find out he lives with his parents, is unemployed, and spends all day playing Call of Duty). The Royals are just finding that out now. The question is - will Dayton have the stones to break up with Francoeur before its too late and he's moved in with Dayton, redecorated Dayton's apartment, thrown out all his good CDs, and warned Dayton's friends not to hang out with him anymore?