Jeff Francoeur said this to Kevin Kernan of the Post yesterday:
“One of my big goals is to have better pitch recognition…. Sometimes you try to say it doesn’t bother you to swing at a bad pitch, but it does. I’m human. I want to get better because I know if I can get better at that the rest of my game will follow. If I can mix in 50-60 walks, I become a totally different guy.”
Sounds awesome, right? Better pitch recognition seems like exactly what Frenchy needs to maintain the level of production he posted in his half season as a Met and avoid slipping back to the sub-replacement level player he was for his final season and a half with the Braves. After all, there’s no doubt he can crush the ball when it’s thrown over the plate.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution doesn’t have a great archive, but thanks to commenter named “Kyle S at work” at Baseball Think Factory, we can find evidence (most pointing to AJC articles) that Francoeur has actually set out to better recognize pitches in each of the last four offseasons:
His career walk rates:
2005: 4.0%; 2006: 3.4%; 2007: 6.0%; 2008: 6.0%; 2009: 3.6%.
It’s great that Francoeur knows he needs to walk more. The problem is, there’s no evidence he has the ability to do so. He’s still only 26 — which is sort of amazing given how long it seems like he’s been around — so there’s hope he can finally pull everything together and starts recognizing pitches the way he apparently hopes to.
He’s a Met, so I’ll be rooting for him.