Hey, remember that hometown guy your beloved Braves drafted way back in 2002? No, not that bald guy who left for pinstripes! No, I’m talking about Jeff “Frenchy” Francoeur! The same guy who’s arm is a pure cannon and gift from God himself. The same guy who won a Gold Glove Award in just his 2nd season as a big leaguer. The guy who did this for his first ever major league hit
Yeah, well, that guy is coming back to Atlanta.
Now, I don’t want to get your hopes up or maybe lighten the mood for some of you “Braves Fans,” but Frenchy isn’t coming back to Atlanta to play in with the Red, White and Blue. No, Francoeur will be on the opposite side sporting the navy, white and gold.
After bouncing around the majors from team-to-team for the past four years, trying to find his place, Francoeur found himself a home with the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Padres Triple-A affiliate. After the Chase Headley deal that moved him to New York and the 25 game suspension put on Cameron Maybin, the Padres were in need of some offensive help.
So, cue Francoeur. He ended up getting the call and met up with the Padres in Chicago later Wednesday afternoon. Francoeur, who has almost put up the same disappointing numbers every season since leaving Atlanta, is doing actually better than average out in El Paso. Francoeur was batting .294 with 15 home runs, 18 doubles, 60 RBI’s and an OPS of .790. Though it is minor league ball and the competition is different, that’s almost a mirror image of his stat line he had going for Atlanta in his first official season as a Brave.
The Padres have began the gutting process of their lineup and are in last place. Last place or not, this could be make or break for the 30-year old GA native. Francoeur was the next Jason Heyward before Jason Heyward was even a thing. He was part of the “Baby Braves” who all got called up at the same time during the 2005 season, McCann included. This was a guy who was getting featured on Sports Illustrated and was seen as the next best things with his offensive and defensive tools being almost impeccable. It was proving to be the right move until Francoeur hit a slump and hit it hard, before being traded half way through the 2009 season to the New York Mets.
He is the “good guy” in all of baseball with his southern charm and unforgettable smile and in my opinion, still a great ball player. The Padres finished their series in Chicago on Thursday afternoon and then it was wheels-up for a coming home reunion for the Parkview Native. If I were able to be at the Ted this weekend, I’d make sure to let him know we never forgot his memorable home runs and laser point arm. I’d let him know he is still welcome in Braves Country.