Even Fastballs Now Hate Frenchy

Ed Zurga

Well, at least he still has his arm.

Jeff Francoeur is struggling, again. After getting an extension after his breakout age 27 season, Jeffy is back to his normal self, performing horribly. He is hitting .243/.284/.350 which is well below the league average of .258/.326/.420 for left fielders. His major problem has always been plate discipline, but in 2013 it as been exacerbated by his inability to hit a fastball.

Francoeur has always had problems with too many strikeouts and not enough walks. Of the 162 players between 2005 and 2012 who have accumulated 3000 PA, he has the 12th lowest walk rate at 5.1%. To no one's surprise, some current and former Royals are also on the list (#1 Batter Nine You Sucky at 3.3%, #2 Miguel Olivo at 3.5%, #9 Miguel Tejada at 4.9%). His 18.0% K% isn't near the top ( #57). The combination does put his K/BB (.28) as the 7th highest. Finally, his Swing% was 5th overall 57.7%. I could go on, but I am pretty sure you get the point by now, he has issues with plate discipline.

Now take those results and make them all worse and then the 2013 version of Jeff Fracoeur materializes. His strikeouts (25%) are a career high. While his walk rate (3.7%) is not a career low (3.4%), it is close. His K/BB is at career low (.15 or one walk for every 6.7 strikeouts). He is swinging rate (55.7%) is close to his career norm of 55.2%, but his contact is way down (69% in his career to 62% in 2013). He is missing to many pitches. His Swing and miss percentage has gone from 10% in 2012 to 17% 2013.

I know I may be preaching to the choir. Most fans probably know Frenchy has pathetic plate discipline. I just want to show the dredges he has reach so far in 2013. Some times it is tough to tell the difference between smelly poo and make-you-nearly-throw-up smelly poo.

Frenchy has been known as a first pitch fastball hitter. He has always struggled against breaking pitches (or any pitch in the dirt). After watching a few games this season, it seems fastballs have been his kryptonite. He just has not been able to catch up and make contact with fastballs. Now it is time to look at a few pitches. Each video are of fastballs right down the middle of the plate.

The first swing and miss happened on April 21st.

94_medium

Just a bit late. It was not really fair for him though. The pitch was over 94 mph. Here is a pitch just under 92 mph right down the pipe.

92_medium

Well, not much better. Let me slow it down some more. This one comes in at 89 mph.

89_medium

Closer. At least the glove wasn't closed with the ball before the bat went over the plate. Additionally, he missed two slower fastballs, but they were cutters. Frenchy is pretty dead meat against any breaking pitch, so they were unfair. Here is is Swing and Miss percentage for fastballs since 2008.

Swingandmiss_medium

As with every hitter, he made more contact with slower fastballs. Before 2103, he swung and missed at a sub-20% level. In 2013, he is over 33% on his swing and misses.

Frenchy did perform a few baseball related activities well. Now, it looks like another one is all but disappeared, the ability to hit a fastball. Now, he is even more abyssal at the plate. At least he still has his arm cannon, for now.

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