Sunday, April 30, 2006

Chipper Jones' Advice Pays Off for Jeff Francoeur

Jeff Francoeur never saw a pitch he didn't like, enabling him to hit .341, with 31 RBI and 10 homers in the first two months of his '05 rookie campaign. But many of the numbers came when he reached out of the strike zone and slammed bad balls for hits, showing a lack of discrimination that one day would tell on him. Francoeur only walked 11 times in 257 at-bats for that season, and has yet to walk even once in nearly 100 at-bats this year. But veteran teammate Chipper Jones advised Francoeur to keep doing what he's doing, keep making contact, keep swinging because it was that type of aggressiveness that made him one of last year's top rookies. With a .216 average this year, Francoeur was beginning to doubt himself, but he went 4-5 with a homer and five RBI Sunday in the Braves 8-5 victory over the Mets, giving the young outfielder hope that with plenty of time left, he still can turn his season around.