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Giving Credit to Jeff Francoeur

Yesterday at SB Nation Jeff Sullivan touched on the fact that Jeff Francoeur has had a nice season, proving internet fans, of a certain type, wrong. Well, in the spirit of balance, I would like to acknowledge that Francoeur has had a good season for the Royals.

2011 - Jeff Francoeur 120 462 60 128 35 3 15 66 34 94 19 7 .277 .329 .463

In terms of WAR, b-rWar has him as a 2.2 win player, which is right in line with his fWAR of 2.3. Despite the gaudy outfield assist numbers, Francoeur is basically a break even defender, as his poor range offsets his great arm (remember that range is overall more important). A non-horrible walk-rate of 6.6% has given Francoeur the most balanced offensive package he's produced in some time, and with offensive otherwise generally down, he's been valuable. He's certainly been better than I would have predicted.

As I've written many times, my main problem with Francoeur has nothing to do with Francoeur the player. As a player, he is what he is. Importantly, his 2011 campaign does not make him some kind or emerging All-Star again, he's not. 2.3 WAR places him 8th among AL RFs, so let's keep some perspective. Do you also want hosannas to Matt Joyce and Brennan Boesch? No, Francoeur annoys me because he's often talked about as some if he's some combination of the greatest coach/teammate/human being ever. He's praised for teaching us about life. Honestly, when I consider all the struggles people are having around this country, I'm offended by that notion. Francoeur might teach us something about life, but I don't think it's really a helpful or hopeful lesson for most of us. But again, we've been down that road before.  

To return to Francoeur the player however, he's had a good season. He's made some improvements in the biggest flaw in his game (impatience) and has been really all we could have hoped he would be. I still think the Royals should have traded him at the deadline, but perhaps they were being low-balled. I'm still wary of bringing him back for 2012 at $4 million, but if I could be guaranteed he'd be a two-win player, I might consider it. Mostly, I want some of the outfielders in the system to start paying in 2012, because I don't think the Royals can realistically compete next year. Again, that's another post.

So in the end, this: Jeff Francoeur has been a good player in 2012. I was wrong about that.