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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Royals Review: Jeff Francoeur by the numbers

Carving up Frenchy the clown. There’s enough for everybody!

dd

The General Manager of your baseball team thinks Jeff Francoeur is worthy to don the Royal blue. The manager of your baseball team thinks he’s one of the best nine players at his disposal and dutifully fills out a lineup card with his name on it nearly every day.

I disagree.

Today I present to you the statistical case against Jeff Francoeur. (All numbers are through Sunday. After his 1-4 performance, it’s not like they dramatically improved.)

Plate Discipline

—Among qualified outfielders, his .255 on base percentage ranks dead last. League average on base percentage is .323.

—According to PITCHf/x, Francoeur has swung at 44.5 percent of pitches that are outside the strike zone. That’s the worst rate in the American League and second only to Alfonso Soriano (45.9 percent) in all of baseball.

—Overall, he is swinging at 56.5 percent of all pitches. Again, that is the highest swing percentage in the American League. Again, it is second only to Soriano at 57.2 percent.

—On average, Francoeur is seeing 3.8 pitches per plate appearance. League average is 3.88 P/PA.

...It cannot be said enough: In a year where the Royals decided to go “all-in” they traded a prospect who could play right field so that Jeff Francoeur could be their every day right fielder. The Royals - specifically Dayton Moore - thought Francoeur could contribute this season. Moore actually thought Francoeur could play in right field every day and not hurt the team with his bat or his glove. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

This is Exhibit A in the case against Dayton Moore.

Repoz Posted: May 28, 2013 at 09:16 AM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: royals

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   1. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 28, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4453452)
this is a tedious subject but I did want to comment that that is one seriously creepy comic book cover

   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4453460)
So, this Soriano fellow sounds pretty bad too. Would he be available in a trade?
   3. Eric Ferguson Posted: May 28, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4453462)
I like Francoeur's willingness to swing at anything to keep the game moving. His commitment to aesthetics at the expense of performance is a credit to his people. And by "his people," I mean bad baseball players.
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 28, 2013 at 09:35 AM (#4453464)
this is a tedious subject but I did want to comment that that is one seriously creepy comic book cover

All I know is I'm passing on the stuffing, thanks.
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4453497)
Why would a major league organization in the year 2013 give more than 250 PAs to a guy with Francoeur's profile? I can see his uses as a corner OF vs. LHP and a backup 4th OF and defensive replacement, even a PH vs. lefties, but as a starter?

He reminds me of Tony Armas though I haven't checked specifically.
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4453502)
He reminds me of Tony Armas though I haven't checked specifically.

If Frenchy had great power, then maybe. Armas hit so many HRs he was valuable even though he just could not lay off anything. You'd think playing with Dwayne Murphy and Rickey would have rubbed off a little, but...NOPE!
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4453503)
I like Frenchy, and was delighted with his nice 2011 campaign, but good lord he's been below his normal replacement level self for 200 games now. That he's still listed on most lineup cards is just bizarre. You don't need advanced metrics to understand how terrible he's been since the start of 2012.

   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4453508)
I will just point out for the masses that the kc manager gave multiple at bats to wes helms including batting helms cleanup when his slugging percentage was in the mid .300's. and this wasn't in week 2 of the season

when the kc manager takes a liking to a player the gm is obligated to trade the player away to separate the two. otherwise, that player will play. period.

   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4453528)
Harveys: in this case it's the GM that's in love with Francoeur. They traded Wil Myers away in part because they couldn't bear to deny Francoeur his everyday lineup spot and so from Moore's perspective Myers was blocked.
   10. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4453533)
zeth

then Kansas city is doomed

I am not employing hyperbole
   11. DA Baracus Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4453536)
and a backup 4th OF and defensive replacement


He doesn't even have that anymore.
   12. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4453539)
when the kc manager takes a liking to a player the gm is obligated to trade the player away to separate the two. otherwise, that player will play. period.


So you don't like Ned?

And besides who on earth on the 2004 Brewers was Ned going to play instead? Keith Ginter?
Russ Branyan?

Seriously, sure Wes Helms sucked rocks, but give a replacement level hitter several years of 250 PAs he's bound to fluke into half a season or two of all star caliber performance... which his career aptly demonstrates
   13. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4453542)
zeth

then Kansas city is doomed

I am not employing hyperbole


Yes, many Royals fans and interested observers have been aware of this for several years now. Dayton Moore is the Peter Principle personified.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4453544)
I can see his uses as a corner OF vs. LHP and a backup 4th OF and defensive replacement, even a PH vs. lefties, but as a starter?


No. David Lough should start in RF for now. When Dyson comes back off the DL, he should start CF, Cain in RF, Lough to 4th OF. Frenchy should be gone. If you need a RH bat, at this point it should probably be Xavier Nady who has shown no ability to hit MLB pitching either, but isn't a total liability in the field.
   15. John Northey Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4453586)
That is a scary offense KC has - if you are a KC fan. 89 OPS+ overall, 3 guys with OPS+ in the 50's who have had over 100 PA each (total of 436 PA so far). Without Gordon, Butler and Cain who knows where that team would be.

Of course, in the battle of the 'going for it' teams the Jays still are worse at 22-29 vs KC's 21-27. Ick.
   16. Bob Tufts Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4453588)
I'm tired of the Frenchy bashing. It's not his fault that others have overvalued his contributions.

He's a decent person, stand up guy and merely someone who never reached the expectations set by scouts and player personnel professionals who evaluated him over the past decade. Being deemed one with potential is a ##### - you actually have to go out and reach levels set by another person!

Cut him some slack. He is who we thought he was.....
   17. Eric Ferguson Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4453599)
I think Francoeur is kind of like John Cena, in that he is the target of fan vitriol not because he is objectionable in his own right but because those in positions of power continue to force him down our throats despite his obvious limitations. If Francoeur were just a guy at the end of the bench, his "decent person, stand-up guy" profile would be much more palatable.
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4453606)
No one has ever argued that Frenchy isn't a terrific guy.

It should be noted that when his playing time has been cut in the past, he hasn't exactly reacted like a "team player" should.
   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4453608)
johnny

if you were to research this site you would find the exchanges between myself and ntn (good brewer fan) on this very topic

since you won't (as is the practice here, the challenger never has to do the research. ray has convinced others that once a challenge is offered it's up the person being challenged to defend his position versus the challenger providing justification for the challenge), here is the synopsis:

--helms showed up for the 2004 season ridiculously overweight. by the players own admission that spring training and again the following year as evident by his trim figure he showed up in poor condition
--the player never got himself in playing condition. he was easily 25 lbl overweight and that is being kind
--he was absurdly slow in the field and his bat could be timed with the proverbial sun dial
--yet he played
--the keith gintner you apparently reject hit 19 homers and slugged .479 that season. and while he wasn't great at third base he was adequate. to quickly compare both gintner and helms turnred 10 double plays in 2004. keith made 3 errors. helms made 16

branyan also had almost as many assists and putouts despite playing approximately 20 fewer games.

a dead buffalo would have stopped more grounders than helms that season.

and still he played. until he got hurt stepping into the dugout. he slipped.

I know you will come back with some explanation that justifies yost's actions claiming that my history of 'hating' yost has colored my perspective.

but all of the above are facts. facts that were readily apparent at the time to even the most casual observer. helms was fat and he stunk and everyone knew it, talked about it and thought the guy should be benched

except the manager. who defended him. who kept putting him in the lineup. and when the noise was loudest batted him cleanup as a giant 'f u' to everyone

   20. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4453614)
I'm tired of the Frenchy bashing. It's not his fault that others have overvalued his contributions.

He's a decent person, stand up guy and merely someone who never reached the expectations set by scouts and player personnel professionals who evaluated him over the past decade. Being deemed one with potential is a ##### - you actually have to go out and reach levels set by another person!

Cut him some slack. He is who we thought he was.....


I don't think any of this is wrong but if a Royals blogger is writing about the team I don't think Francoeur should be ignored. It's a pretty obvious failing on the part of management to keep rolling him out there.

I think if you look at anumber of the threads about Francoeur he has won a lot of us over in terms of the person he is. Unfortunately it doesn't make him a good player.
   21. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4453624)
Bob (16): I'm not sure anyone here is bashing Francoeur? I for one am bashing Moore for insisting on playing him every day over better players. Francoeur seems like a pretty awesome guy but that is not germane to his ability to play baseball at a major league level (little to none).
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4453626)
Bob (16): I'm not sure anyone here is bashing Francoeur? I for one am bashing Moore for insisting on playing him every day over better players. Francoeur seems like a pretty awesome guy but that is not germane to his ability to play baseball at a major league level (little to none).


Yeah. Frenchy's truly one of my favorite players in the game (that bacon thing with the Oakland fans was fantastic). But my genuine fondness for him can't obscure the fact that he's been dreadful for more than 200 games, and he has no business being in the starting lineup any longer.

   23. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4453644)
That is a scary offense KC has - if you are a KC fan. 89 OPS+ overall, 3 guys with OPS+ in the 50's who have had over 100 PA each (total of 436 PA so far).


Did the Royals trade for the Mariners when I wasn't paying attention?
   24. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4453661)
johnny

if you were to research this site you would find the exchanges between myself and ntn (good brewer fan) on this very topic

since you won't


I was joking, I've been on this site a long time and I'm quite familiar with you complaints with regard to Ned Yost.

With regard to Ginter and Branyan I threw them out there because they pretty clearly outplayed Helms in 2004, and Branyan was pretty clear a better ball player than Helms whether you look at just 2004 or their respective careers, it was shot at Yost not a defense.
   25. Bob Tufts Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4453666)
he has no business being in the starting lineup any longer.


It's a pretty obvious failing on the part of management to keep rolling him out there.


I for one am bashing Moore for insisting on playing him every day over better players.



Agreed, as I said:


(He's) merely someone who never reached the expectations set by scouts and player personnel professionals who evaluated him over the past decade.


Scouts and player personnel at multiple organizations have made a significant error in use and evaluation of Francoeur. That is where the focus should be.

I am just vigorously defending the player for being what he is and all others being deluded in thinking he is far more valuable. Organizations are putting him in situations where he will not be successful (and ahead of other prospects and talent) as opposed to acknowledging what he is - a bat off the bench vs. lefties at best.
   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4453672)
Bob, I thought my #5 was measured:

Why would a major league organization in the year 2013 give more than 250 PAs to a guy with Francoeur's profile? I can see his uses as a corner OF vs. LHP and a backup 4th OF and defensive replacement, even a PH vs. lefties, but as a starter?

That's not a bashing of him.

Although if we're talking about whether it's fair to criticize him personally, I do recall that when the Mets cut his playing time he threw a tantrum. Not that that's a big deal or makes him any worse than bazillions of players who do that, but if we're talking about whether he's a Team Player or not deserving of criticism that can't be a point in his favor.
   27. Bob Tufts Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4453678)
Ownership, scouting/player personnel...

Royals fans have taken more glee in booing Cano at the ASG HR contest and booing the Yankees and throwing fake money around than looking at these departments and their actions. Perhaps it is time for fans (and the remaining rational management employees) to look inward and deal with what they can control as opposed to blaming external forces.

To the fans: Don't go - don't buy merchandise - don't watch on TV or listen on radio. Get your MLB media fix elsewhere.

As I told royalsreport, it's time for someone to pull a New York Giants stunt and fly the banner over the ballpark in KC that says "15 Years of Lousy Baseball...We've Had Enough!"
   28. bjhanke Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4453680)
Harvey's - Did you notice that the comic book cover DOES have the Comic Code seal of approval on it? It must have come out just as the Comic Code Authority was trying to save itself by just wincing and letting things go if there weren't any actual severed body parts.

Bob's comment reveals something that we tend to forget: There are reasons that there are, and always will be, scouts as well as analysts, and this is one of them. Scouts (and managers) may make silly speeches about "makeup" and "chemistry", but it is important to know, when you're dealing with a marginal player, whether he will distract or mess up any of your GOOD players. Apparently, Francoeur does not. In general, I imagine there is a correlation (although, this being psychology, measuring it might be difficult) between quality of play and how much bad behavior a team will put up with. When I see a player regularly get assigned to roles that are over his head, I always imagine that one of the things the manager is getting out of him is that he is no trouble. Deep benchwarmers, as far as I can tell, are hired almost entirely for this quality, since an equivalent player could be found easily.

- Brock Hanke (who casts small parts in the plays he directs almost entirely on the basis of how much trouble the actor is likely to be)
   29. bfan Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4453685)
Scouts and player personnel at multiple organizations have made a significant error in use and evaluation of Francoeur. That is where the focus should be.


It was pretty clear that Frenchie was not selective enough from the start; he had very poor walk rates in the minors, and it did not take a big leap to assume that MLB pitchers, who have better control, would just not throw him strikes but leave the ball where he could make poor or no contact. I guess that got lost in the hype.

This is, by the way, why Christian Bethancourt will never hit in MLB-he makes Frenchie look like Lance Berkman when it comes to selectivity [you have to love his 11 walks in 410 PA's in 2011, or his 2 walks in 106 PA's this year]. People forget the Vlad Guerrero's are a rare find, and not close to the norm (hitters who can square up and drive any pitch, anywhere, any at-bat).
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4453687)

Royals fans have taken more glee in booing Cano at the ASG HR contest and booing the Yankees and throwing fake money around than looking at these departments and their actions. Perhaps it is time for fans (and the remaining rational management employees) to look inward and deal with what they can control as opposed to blaming external forces.

To the fans: Don't go - don't buy merchandise - don't watch on TV or listen on radio. Get your MLB media fix elsewhere.

As I told royalsreport,


1. Attendance isn't that great in the first place

2. David Glass makes a profit without selling a single ticket, so no, I don't think attendance will hurt him that much.

3. Fans have been looking inward and pointing fingers at ownership/management for, I don't know, a decade or two.

it's time for someone to pull a New York Giants stunt and fly the banner over the ballpark in KC that says "15 Years of Lousy Baseball...We've Had Enough!"


Yea, someone should. Course it doesn't really matter when your owner never goes to games and doesn't live in the city.
   31. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4453703)
Glass doesn't care whether he sells tickets or not, but if he's like 99.9% of humans he cares about his image. Mocking, insulting and belittling him in public as much as possible may seem unsavory and most of us like to think it beneath us, but it's probably Royals fans' best hope of getting him to fire Moore and at least try to hire competent management.

I feel bad for Royals fans, especially since there seems to be an unusual concentration of Royals fans in the sabermetric community. It may be time for them as a group to get militant; sometimes I feel like quoting Braveheart to Rany Jazayerli: "Royals fans know you. High and low alike, they respect you. And if you would just lead them to freedom, they'd follow you. And so would I."

Well, I'm not actually a Royals fan, just a sympathizer, and I'm entirely insignificant so me following you doesn't mean anything. But still.
   32. JE (Jason) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4453711)
—According to PITCHf/x, Francoeur has swung at 44.5 percent of pitches that are outside the strike zone.

If o-swing percentage is so important, then why don't they put it up on the scoreboard?

EDIT: I'm not laughing at Frenchy, Bob. I'm laughing with him.
   33. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4453728)
—On average, Francoeur is seeing 3.8 pitches per plate appearance. League average is 3.88 P/PA.


I have to admit this is pretty impressive given his swing rate.
   34. Sweatpants Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4453730)
Although if we're talking about whether it's fair to criticize him personally, I do recall that when the Mets cut his playing time he threw a tantrum.
He said that he was okay with it when it was announced. Then a few months later he had his agent publicly ask for a trade.

Francoeur can't give himself playing time, so it's fair to criticize the people who give it to him, but it's not like he simply falls into it; he seeks it out. His (agent's) trade request explicitly stated that it was because he wanted to play every day. Everyone called his signing with the Royals, as they had no good outfielders and were the only team that would have even considered starting him.
   35. Srul Itza Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4453732)
Harvey's - Did you notice that the comic book cover DOES have the Comic Code seal of approval on it? It must have come out just as the Comic Code Authority was trying to save itself by just wincing and letting things go if there weren't any actual severed body parts.


Seriously?

Evil Clown was a National Lampoon parody. The CCA seal was part of the joke.
   36. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4453735)

Glass doesn't care whether he sells tickets or not, but if he's like 99.9% of humans he cares about his image. Mocking, insulting and belittling him in public as much as possible may seem unsavory and most of us like to think it beneath us, but it's probably Royals fans' best hope of getting him to fire Moore and at least try to hire competent management.


Why would he start to care now? He's been pretty openly hated in this since he was chairman of the board that directed the team to cut costs once Ewing Kauffman died. He was the CEO of one of the most hated corporations in all of America. Do you think he really cares about public image that much?
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4453742)
I have to admit this is pretty impressive given his swing rate.


I think it has more to do with his corresponding increase in swing and miss rate.
   38. jdennis Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4453748)
man, the comp to soriano really shows soriano has some freakish natural talent at the plate.

soriano's ops+ is 99, frenchy's is 54. with those plate discipline numbers. holy crapola.
   39. dlf Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4453763)
Although if we're talking about whether it's fair to criticize him personally, I do recall that when the Mets cut his playing time he threw a tantrum.

He said that he was okay with it when it was announced. Then a few months later he had his agent publicly ask for a trade.


I think people may be conflating his agent's complaints in NY with Francouer's own comments when he was sent back to the minors by the Braves. The 'tantrum' seems to fit more on the earlier incident than the latter.

I wonder what is next for Francouer. Does he go to Japan to try to hang on to a playing career and a last big payday? Does he take the non-guarenteed contract with a ST invite that he'll get next season to try to stay in MLB? Does he move into the booth? I think he'll be a great addition to the Braves or Royals alumni - going to fan club events and being a 'counselor' at the fantasy camps.
   40. spike Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4453764)
I'm tired of the Frenchy bashing. It's not his fault that others have overvalued his contributions.

He's a decent person, stand up guy and merely someone who never reached the expectations set by scouts and player personnel professionals who evaluated him over the past decade.


While I agree with this in general terms, it's only fair to note that a: he was a little less than "stand up" towards the end of his tenure in Atlanta, and b: he's in the entertainment business (and earned over $25M). Public criticism of your performance is part and parcel of the gig, and at those rates, I think I wouldn't particularly mind anything anyone said about me.
   41. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4453773)
Why would he start to care now? He's been pretty openly hated in this since he was chairman of the board that directed the team to cut costs once Ewing Kauffman died. He was the CEO of one of the most hated corporations in all of America. Do you think he really cares about public image that much?


I admit I don't know, but I am fully prepared to find out.

I mean come on, Walmart's just a maniacally anticompetetive conglomerate that thrives by undercutting competitors, enslaving suppliers and abusing employees. Nobody gets too worked up over that. Mess with a sports team, however.....
   42. AROM Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4453775)
I wonder what is next for Francouer. Does he go to Japan to try to hang on to a playing career and a last big payday? Does he take the non-guarenteed contract with a ST invite that he'll get next season to try to stay in MLB? Does he move into the booth? I think he'll be a great addition to the Braves or Royals alumni - going to fan club events and being a 'counselor' at the fantasy camps.


He'll move into the front office. Within 5 years, he'll be promoted to Best Looking GM in Baseball. Then he'll shock you all by building a team full of players who don't swing at pitches out of the strike zone.
   43. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4453781)

I wonder what is next for Francouer. Does he go to Japan to try to hang on to a playing career and a last big payday? Does he take the non-guarenteed contract with a ST invite that he'll get next season to try to stay in MLB? Does he move into the booth? I think he'll be a great addition to the Braves or Royals alumni - going to fan club events and being a 'counselor' at the fantasy camps.


Who do you turn to when you swing at everything and your career looks to be over? One man.

Brian Sabean.
   44. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4453783)
Is there a more average player that has had so much ink spilled over him? This has to be some sort of words/WAR statistic that he's leading in.
   45. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4453787)
smileyy: Come on man, Francoeur's career IAR is like 60% of David Eckstein's at best.
   46. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4453802)
but it's probably Royals fans' best hope of getting him to fire Moore and at least try to hire competent management.


6/8/06: Hiring Moore was an effort to put competent management in place. He been in the Braves organization for 10+ years, and organization as well-regarded as you could have. Trouble is that he was perhaps a guy who'd been drinking the anti-moneyball/pro-scout Koolaid. (not that some of that stuff isn't valid of course)

Nearly 7 years now

Baird: 381-576
Moore: 487-637

His contract goes through 2014, but it seems that most managers/GMs get that last years' salary as severance, barring some quick turnaround you'd have to guess that this is his last year. And Moore knows it, that was what the Shields and Santana trades were for. Shields/Guthrie/Santana, all goes well and you have a half-decent rotation, Hosmer bounces back from the sophomore jinx and Moose Tacos develops, .500+ Hoo Rah!

The staff/rotation has performed as well as Moore could hope for, the offense stubbornly refuses to, umm, develop. BTW has anyone noticed their utter lack of power? Average team has 55, the Royals have 28.
   47. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4453804)
Who are some good GM candidates out there?
   48. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4453807)
smileyy: Come on man, Francoeur's career IAR is like 60% of David Eckstein's at best.


Eckstein has 20+ career WAR. 3 times Frenchy's total- Eckstein would have to have more than 5 time the ink than Frenchy to get that ratio... no way.
   49. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4453809)
True, but he said average rather than replacement, also. Eckstein's been average, Francouer's been well below average...
   50. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4453834)

Evil Clown was a National Lampoon parody. The CCA seal was part of the joke.


I just assumed it was some piece of crap from the early '90s, because seemingly about half the garbage from those days (judging from galleries of covers from back then; at the time, I was about halfway through a 25-year hiatus from the field) wasn't noticeably distinguishable from the posted image, Marvel & probably to a lesser extent DC very much included.
   51. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4453842)
Who are some good GM candidates out there?


Here's the conclusion to come to: there is simply no way to know if a guy is going to be a good GM until you've let him do it for a few years. I mean, you can guess, and of course a baseball ops guy is going to be better than, I dunno, James Gandolfini, but the truth is that very often people who are touted as the Next Big Thing -- Jack Z, Dayton Moore, Ben Cherington, to a lesser extent Chris Antonetti -- turn out to be just guys, or worse. And then you get Theo Epstein or Andrew Friedman or Alex Anthopolous, guys who kind of come out of nowhere and are really good at the job. And then other people, like Logan White and Kim Ng, who either can't get a job or aren't interested.

Is there a systematic way of knowing who is the right guy? Just based on some cursory observations over the last 15 years, I'd say you should shy away from guys who come out of scouting, because a lot of them draft well and can't build an MLB team for #### (Jack & Dayton being the chief criminals here). But that's it. That's all I can guess.
   52. bfan Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4453844)
Evil Clown was a National Lampoon parody


That is one muscular clown. He obviously isn't eating the pies thrown in his face.
   53. TomH Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4453859)
I mean come on, Walmart's just a maniacally anticompetetive conglomerate that thrives by undercutting competitors, enslaving suppliers and abusing employees. Nobody gets too worked up over that

Your last sentence is correct; they don't. Which means you oughta consider your first sentence is waaay over the top.
   54. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4453867)
Is there a systematic way of knowing who is the right guy? Just based on some cursory observations over the last 15 years, I'd say you should shy away from guys who come out of scouting, because a lot of them draft well and can't build an MLB team for #### (Jack & Dayton being the chief criminals here). But that's it. That's all I can guess.


If you're, say, the Astros or the Brewers and your major league team is bad and your farm system is worse, you definitely should hire Dayton Moore as your GM--as long as you know to fire him as soon as the talent he develops is ready and replace him with someone with a proven track record of intelligently assembling a major league roster.
   55. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4453874)
Who is an experienced GM available? Doesn't seem like GMs get recycled nearly as much as managers do. I guess because they have longer tenures at one place? Seems like guys that would be available are either retired for good (John Schuerholz, John Hart), or were fired for complete incompetence (Omar Minaya, Bill Bavasi, Cam Bonifay, Chuck Lamar).

God, Jim Bowden actually looks kinda good compared to Dayton. He'd at least be...interesting.

Jim Hendry gets mocked here, but would he be decent for a smaller market club? I'd give someone like AJ Hinch a shot.
   56. bunyon Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4453883)
He'll move into the front office. Within 5 years, he'll be promoted to Best Looking GM in Baseball. Then he'll shock you all by building a team full of players who don't swing at pitches out of the strike zone.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if a guy who was lousy at the plate - in terms of contact and discipline - acquired players with those skills. Not being able to do something is not the same as not knowing it should be done.

I mean, all of us geniuses here know the importance of OBP. Perhaps, if all the people who have ever posted on this site were given 100 PA, we might get on base 50 times.
   57. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4453884)
If you're, say, the Astros or the Brewers and your major league team is bad and your farm system is worse, you definitely should hire Dayton Moore as your GM--as long as you know to fire him as soon as the talent he develops is ready and

a gm creates an entire culture. I don't know what the value of a gm is if the talent continually cannot translate success in the minors to success in the majors. so I don't know what moore brings to the table that is positive.

if talent is great at triple a but then goes kersplat then he's drafting great minor league players. which isn't the point of building a team
   58. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4453899)
It wouldn't surprise me a bit if a guy who was lousy at the plate - in terms of contact and discipline - acquired players with those skills. Not being able to do something is not the same as not knowing it should be done.


Doesn't this describe Billy Beane to a "T"?
   59. bjhanke Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4453905)
Srul (#35) - Thanks for the info. I'd never seen the comic before, so I assumed the seal was legit. I did notice that it was not in the normal place on the cover. There is a period, of maybe two years after the Spider-Man drug issues broke the Code monopoly, where the people running the code tried to loosen it up as much as they could stand, just to keep their jobs. This didn't work; I think that Archie was their last client, and they lost Archie a couple or maybe several years ago.

For those of you who don't know. the Comics Code was a deal dreamed up by the comic industry in the 1950s (the Joe McCarthy era), when there were congressional hearings on the bad influences on little kids of gory covers and gray-area heroes and anything else that wouldn't fit right into an episode of the Donna Reed Show. A guy named Frederick Wertham had written a book called "Seduction of the Innocent" that caused a big scandal and led to these hearings. The comic industry, fearing for its life, made up their own censorship board, rather than let the Federal government come up with one. This went on for a couple of decades, and explains a lot of the repetitive blandness of comics into the 1970s. No distributor would touch a comic without the Comic Code seal. However, the DEA, of all people to meddle in comics, asked Marvel Comics to put a story in Spider-Man warning kids about the bad effects of drugs. Marvel was willing, but the Code guys would not budge on "no drugs in comics," which was a suicidal stance for them to take. When the DEA asks for a drugs comic, your industry comics code shuts up. So Marvel put the issue out without the code seal, got into no trouble at all with distributors or sales, and reasonably soon both Marvel and DC just abandoned the code altogether. Its time had passed.

- Brock Hanke
   60. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4453925)
Eckstein has 20+ career WAR. 3 times Frenchy's total- Eckstein would have to have more than 5 time the ink than Frenchy to get that ratio... no way.


Player           WAR  Google hits  GH/WAR        GHAR  GHAR/WAR
Frenchy           7.7    528
,000  68,571      204,000   26,494
Eckstein         20.8  1
,300,000  62,500      976,000   46,923
Barry Bonds     162.5 13
,900,000  85,538   13,576,000   83,545
Babe Ruth       183.2 16
,300,000  88,974   15,976,000   87,205
Jackie Robinson  61.4 48
,000,000  781,759  47,676,000  776,482 


I'm setting replacement level as 324,000 Google hits, which is how many Greg LaRocca has.

Jackie Robinson: overexposed.
   61. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4453932)
Jose (58): I think you may have missed the joke in the post (#42) that #56 was quoting.
   62. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4453979)
but the truth is that very often people who are touted as the Next Big Thing -- Jack Z, Dayton Moore, Ben Cherington, to a lesser extent Chris Antonetti -- turn out to be just guys, or worse.


Jim Bowden, youngest GM in MLB history...

OTOH I recall Neal Huntington getting dumped on when Pittsburgh hired him- and he certainly seems to have done a better job than Z or Moore...

DePodesta was simultaneously the Next Big Thing and Googleboy when he was LA's GM


   63. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4453987)
Player           WAR  Google hits  GH/WAR        GHAR  GHAR/WAR
Frenchy           7.7    528,000  68,571      204,000   26,494
Eckstein         20.8  1,300,000  62,500      976,000   46,923


I'm stunned that Eck has that many more google hits than Frenchy...

even considering that not all "David Eckstein" hits are the ballplayer but virtually all Jeff Francoeur hits are Frenchy, Eck still has waaay more
   64. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: May 28, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4453997)
even considering that not all "David Eckstein" hits are the ballplayer but virtually all Jeff Francoeur hits are Frenchy, Eck still has waaay more


Actually, I have discovered an error in my methodology. I didn't use quotation marks, so a lot of the David Eckstein hits will actually be things like Susie Eckstein discussing her love for David Lee Roth. Frenchy actually out-hits Eckstein 502K to 318K.

I am embarrassed by such an elementary Google error.
   65. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4454038)
The comic industry, fearing for its life, made up their own censorship board, rather than let the Federal government come up with one. This went on for a couple of decades, and explains a lot of the repetitive blandness of comics into the 1970s. No distributor would touch a comic without the Comic Code seal.


That last sentence isn't really accurate, since Dell & Gold Key never carried the CCA seal & sold quite nicely for years after it was introduced. Classics Illustrated, too, for that matter. They considered their reputations so above any possible reproach that they didn't bother with such assurances of inoffensiveness.

Which explains how Dell could come out with a couple of drop-dead-excellent horror comics like the Tales from the Tomb one-shot & Ghost Stories #1 in '62; they didn't have to worry about the code's proscription against non-milquetoast fare.
   66. Walt Davis Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:09 PM (#4454092)
On average, Francoeur is seeing 3.8 pitches per plate appearance. League average is 3.88 P/PA.

Worst cherry-picking ever.

As I said in the other thread, time for us to let Frenchy's career die in peace. And it may have already begun -- 4 starts in the last 7 games.

Although that Sabean comment does remind us Frenchy probably has one last good 200 PA debut in him.

And, c'mon, Moore did not trade Myers out of a love for Frenchy he traded Myers out of a desperate need for pitching. Yes, that trade meant another year of Frenchy (already under contract) but that was a price to pay. I didn't like the trade at the time but that was mainly because it was high-cost, short-term return and I didn't think the Royals were ready.

But in 2012, KC starters had a 5.01 ERA. Their only decent starter was AAAA Luis Mendoza and they had only two other guys over 100 IP, one the horrendous Hochevar. Seriously their three best starters were Mendoza, Chen and Hochevar. The 2013 rotation was looking like a disaster beyond reckoning.

So far this year KC starters have a 4.06 ERA and only one guy has missed a turn. Shields (and Santana) have been great (Davis not). (Guthrie good) Meanwhile Myers is not being awesome in AAA and the Rays rotation is struggling. So far Moore has won that trade hands down.

I don't want to defend Moore but the notion that he's a guy who doesn't trust prospects seems rather silly. He got Gordon through his struggles, he continues to trot Moose and Hosmer out there, Butler has been in the lineup everyday from the start and he signed Perez to a long-term contract before he was out of diapers. He gave Hochevar (having a nice relief season) and Davies before him a ton of chances. The only 2 position players older than 29 are Kottaras (30) and Tejada. There were only 36 players <=25 that had qualifying seasons in 2012 and 3 of them were Royals (5 were Mariners). What more can the guy realistically do to give young players a shot?

This year the "process" is nearly working. Team ERA+ is 113. If the offense was putting up last year's 95 OPS+ this could be a contending team right now and, of course, nearly everybody expected at least one of Hosmer or Moose to improve. If you had told me that Shields and Santana were going to be this good and the bullpen repeat its 2012, I'd have picked them as a contending team.

They're a bit like the Cubs -- terrible record but a run differential of just 2. The record is probably more reflective of the true talent but it is "bad luck" that doesn't have them 500 right now.

By the way, don't look now but Bruce Chen is doing a terrific Darren Oliver impression.
   67. The District Attorney Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4454109)
People forget the Vlad Guerrero's are a rare find
I wonder which batters have the highest ratio of IBB to unintentional BB. My first inclination was to think "Vlad walked more than people thought". And he did, in the sense that he averaged 56 walks per 162 games. However, 19 of those on average were intentional. So ultimately, yeah, I bet that "true" walk rate for a guy who nonetheless can manage to be a great hitter is pretty damn rare.

Is there a more average player that has had so much ink spilled over him?
A very similar question was asked in the discussion of Poz's recent Frenchy article. If we can go multi-sport, one obvious answer is Tim Tebow.

of course a baseball ops guy is going to be better than, I dunno, James Gandolfini
I believe James Gandolfini would be a better GM than Ned Colletti. Prove me wrong!

Perhaps, if all the people who have ever posted on this site were given 100 PA, we might get on base 50 times.
Getting off to an 0-for-1 start doesn't help; thanks a lot, Bob.

As also mentioned in the Poz thread, the Royals were about to do what everyone here is suggesting and make Frenchy a platoon player, until Jarrod Dyson got hurt. You can argue that they should just do the same thing with Lough, but I can see why that's a tougher sell. Obviously the KC brain trust loves Frenchy, but I don't think they're quite as psychotically devoted to him as it might seem at first glance; part of it is circumstances.

I dunno, can we keep calling Moore a great drafter who can't build a major league roster if it turns out Hosmer, Moustakas, Starling, Colon, Hochevar, Montgomery, Lamb, Duffy, and Dwyer all add up to nothing? It's not like he's failing to surround his young stars with a decent supporting cast; rather, he hasn't even produced the young stars at all.
   68. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4454122)
And, c'mon, Moore did not trade Myers out of a love for Frenchy he traded Myers out of a desperate need for pitching.


Moore could have acquired Shields without giving up Myers; the Royals certainly had enough minor league talent for it. You can disagree if you want, but it seems clear to me he chose to trade Myers away because, to Moore's thinking, Myers didn't have a place to play and was therefore expendable. Francouer as his right fielder was engraved in his mind from the word go. As evidenced by...

I don't want to defend Moore but the notion that he's a guy who doesn't trust prospects seems rather silly.


Supposing you're right, it illustrates my point perfectly. He didn't trade Myers away because he doesn't trust him; he traded Myers away because he regarded Myers as blocked from a major league job for the foreseeable future.

Unreleated but:

So far this year KC starters have a 4.06 ERA and only one guy has missed a turn. Shields (and Santana) have been great (Davis not). (Guthrie good) Meanwhile Myers is not being awesome in AAA and the Rays rotation is struggling. So far Moore has won that trade hands down.


C'mon Walt, you're smarter than that. The only way the Royals win this trade is if

(a) they win their division this year or next, and
(b) Shields' value over their #5 starter exceeds Myers' value over Francouer and whoever else they play in RF that year, and
(c) not even then if Myers develops into a superstar.

Even if Myers merely develops into the next Shane Victorino or whoever, the Rays still win this trade in a walk unless all of the above applies. And that's if we pretend it was Myers for Shields straight up.
   69. bjhanke Posted: May 28, 2013 at 09:47 PM (#4454204)
gef - Thanks for the catch. Classics Illustrated I knew about; I just wasn't thinking about it as in the same class as other comics. But I have memories of buying Dell and Gold Keys with the seal on them. On the other hand, this was 50 years ago and the only titles I remember buying from those two were Tarzan, Magnus, Robot Fighter, and Dr. Solar. I THINK those are all Gold Keys. I'm going to be even more embarrassed if it turns out that Magnus and Solar were from yet another publisher. Valiant owned the rights to those two characters later, but not in the 1960s. Since Valiant's first death, I don't know whose hands they fell into. - Brock
   70. KJOK Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4454213)
I dunno, can we keep calling Moore a great drafter who can't build a major league roster if it turns out Hosmer, Moustakas, Starling, Colon, Hochevar, Montgomery, Lamb, Duffy, and Dwyer all add up to nothing?


Well, those players were univerally highly regarded, so maybe he's a great drafter but the organization is just not good at DEVELOPING players?

If you looked at just the draft, the Royals draftees would have probably been considered 'better' than the Cardinals, for example. But the Cardinals have been extraordinarily good at developing their draftees into successful major league players, while the Royals...haven't been so good.

   71. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4454300)
Supposing you're right, it illustrates my point perfectly. He didn't trade Myers away because he doesn't trust him; he traded Myers away because he regarded Myers as blocked from a major league job for the foreseeable future.


He gambled on prospects, it didn't work. That made him view Myers as more risk than opportunity. The fact he over-values Francoeur completes the decision tree. Jeff already holds down the position well enough, the bonus of a successful gamble on Wil wasn't worth the risk of bust, or living the opportunity to two proven starters for a pitching starved team.

And now Davis and an extra $15M a year in payroll drag down the contributions of Shields, the payroll tying their hands in finding short term improvements and the loss of prospects crippling their chances of medium, term improvement.
   72. Dan Posted: May 29, 2013 at 05:34 AM (#4454366)
This year the "process" is nearly working. Team ERA+ is 113. If the offense was putting up last year's 95 OPS+ this could be a contending team right now and, of course, nearly everybody expected at least one of Hosmer or Moose to improve. If you had told me that Shields and Santana were going to be this good and the bullpen repeat its 2012, I'd have picked them as a contending team.


The "process" is never going to work if Dayton's position players don't hit. The only hitters acquired by him that are hitting at all are Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain. Otherwise the offense is being carried by Butler and Gordon, two guys that he inherited from Baird. And Perez and Cain aren't exactly lighting the world on fire either, both are solid for up-the-middle players but nothing outstanding so far this year. Meanwhile the Royals' heralded young stars, Hosmer and Moustakas, are looking like busts. And Alcides Escobar seems to be showing that last year was a fluke.

Hosmer and Moustakas are failing just about as badly as Montero and Ackley are, and IIRC were even more highly touted than the Mariners' guys ever were as prospects.


Moore could have acquired Shields without giving up Myers; the Royals certainly had enough minor league talent for it. You can disagree if you want, but it seems clear to me he chose to trade Myers away because, to Moore's thinking, Myers didn't have a place to play and was therefore expendable. Francouer as his right fielder was engraved in his mind from the word go. As evidenced by...


Moore could have gotten a starting pitcher without trading Myers, but not Shields. Andrew Friedman is notoriously stubborn in refusing to trade his guys unless he gets the exact return he is after. No way he gives up Shields without Myers. MAYBE Moore could've gotten the trade done in some form without also giving up Odorizzi, but no Myers, no trade.
   73. AROM Posted: May 29, 2013 at 09:41 AM (#4454427)
I mean, you can guess, and of course a baseball ops guy is going to be better than, I dunno, James Gandolfini


Tony Soprano could be a very effective GM. "Let me make you an offer you can refuse. You trade me Strasburg and Harper, and I'll give you Hochevar, Francoeur, and Furio here won't pull the trigger. We gotta deal?"
   74. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 29, 2013 at 09:48 AM (#4454432)
I'm going to be even more embarrassed if it turns out that Magnus and Solar were from yet another publisher.


You're good. They were Gold Key, though for some reason I never bought them as a kid (as opposed to Ripley's Believe It or Not, which was the first comic I ever bought even semi-regularly, starting at the tender age of 7 back in the spring of '67).

As for Dell & GK (the latter of which was some sort of offspring of the former, IIRC, though I could certainly be wrong) bucking the CCA, I have a vague impression of having read somewhere that they had their own spinner racks & distribution ... but I'm almost certainly wrong on that count, since I can't conceive of any way the market would've supported a parallel system like that, especially outside sizable cities.

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