How Yasiel Puig is proving that he isn't just another Jeff Francoeur.
In week one, we knew that Yasiel Puig could hit a baseball well over 400 feet, that he could cover the outside part of the plate, that he could throw from the warning track in right field to first base on the fly. We also knew that it would take a while to find out what he was. His obvious tools and talent were only part of the picture. His weaknesses were just as important, but they took more time to get a feel for. Tim Hudson spoke for all of us when he said, “We’ll see how he does six or eight weeks into the season, see what kind of adjustments people make to him and he makes to them.”
It’s now been nine weeks since Hudson said “we’ll see,” and 10 weeks since Puig made his major-league debut. We’ve watched pitchers adjust to Puig, and Puig adjust to pitchers. And while we’re still in small-sample territory, we can start to say with more certainty what kind of player Puig will be.
Five hitters and five pitchers PECOTA expects to see big improvements from this year.
BP’s PECOTA projections arrived two weeks ago today, offering answers to two of the most common questions asked each spring: Which players are expected to make major improvements, and which are big risks to head downhill?
We’ll tackle five hitters and five pitchers whom PECOTA projects to make major gains today, then do the same for some of the biggest projected decliners tomorrow. One note: It doesn’t take PECOTA to tell you that a player like Troy Tulowitzki—who missed most of last season after left groin surgery—could be in line for a big bounceback with better health, so this list is restricted to people who played full seasons in 2012.
This is something called an Annotated Box Score. It's a bunch of items that come out of one game. This game was between the Angels and Royals on Friday night, though it applies to the entire weekend. Four items today: Jeff Francoeur and a fantastically inside pitch; the Angels' depth and the problems it creates; Kendrys Morales' left-foot toe tap; and Mike Sweeney eating a banana. Scroll on down, now.
Any hopes for success may be fading fast for this former highly touted Braves prospect.
Jeff Francoeur's career has been a series of ups and downs, the high point coming in his first year in the majors, and his lowest occurring this past season. To avoid becoming a has-been at age-25, Francoeur will need to figure out how to harness his talent. Today we'll take a look at what went wrong in his dreadful 2008, and what we can expect from him going forward.
Notebook looks at a rookie in Atlanta, an anomaly in Chicago, and a few relievers in Colorado.
Jack 'em out Jeff has already climbed to 7th on the Rookie VORP report, despite having less than half the PAs of everyone in the top 15. He has already established himself as one of the top Braves at the dish as well. While his small sample size prevents us from making VORPr or EqA type comparisons, the breakneck pace with which he has hit homers is notable. Check out this list of most homers in the first 100 career AB's, courtesy of our own James Click:
Last season brought us the worst-kept secret of the draft, when the Braves selected Jeff Francoeur and bought him out of a football scholarship to Clemson University.
Francoeur is the prototypical Braves prospect. Besides being born and raised in suburban Atlanta, he's a tremendous athlete who could excel at multiple sports. The Braves covet players with physical skills, trusting their player development personnel to translate the natural abilities into baseball productivity. While many organizations have attempted to copy this philosophy, few, if any, have managed to pull it off. Regardless of the lack of success of their imitators, however, the Braves have held firm to their beliefs. The high-risk, high-reward philosophies instituted in the early 90s helped produce the crop of homegrown talent that led to 11 consecutive division championships. While one could argue that there are more cost-effective ways to develop talent, the Braves certainly have reason to feel vindicated in their methods.
He's compiled a line of .286/.322/.451 this season, with a .272 Major League EqA. That line reveals the major flaw in Francoeur's game though. In 455 at-bats, he has managed just 22 walks, impatient even by the Braves' standards.
Allow me to amend this statement slightly; nothing is certain except death, taxes, and the Atlanta Braves drafting high school players from Georgia. After Roy Clark replaced Paul Snyder as the scouting director prior to the 2000 season, the Braves made a conscious effort to focus on local talent. During the next three drafts, Atlanta selected 23 players from the state of Georgia, including using their first selection in each draft on a high school player from the area.