In today's Mets Insider, we take a closer look at OBP machine Jeff Francoeur, who bears little resemblance to the Moneyball punchline of years past. Since coming to the Mets last July, Francoeur has gradually become a more intelligent hitter, and he's jumped out to a quick start this season. Here's an excerpt from today's story:
When Atlanta traded Francoeur to the Mets last July, he arrived with a .282 on-base percentage, the fourth worst among NL starting players. His career mark of .308 was the lowest of any primary corner outfielder with 2,500 at-bats.
To the "Moneyball" disciples, Francoeur was a punch line, the antithesis of what a general manager should build his team around. But no one is laughing at Francoeur this season now that he has transformed himself into a more intelligent hitter.
Just look at the numbers. With two singles yesterday, Francoeur has hit safely in all nine games and is only one game short of tying Darryl Strawberry (1987), Robin Ventura (1999) and David Wright for the second- longest streak to open a season in Mets history. He is batting .438 (14-for-32) with three home runs, seven RBIs and - wait for it - a .513 on-base percentage.
That Francoeur is reaching base more than half the time is mind-boggling for those who followed his career arc through Atlanta, where he was known for power and productivity but never patience.
"I think I'm learning how to hit," Francoeur said. "I still have to remind myself sometimes that I'm still only 26, and I feel like I've taken a big step."