2012 Key Player: Le quartier français

A cannon of an arm from right field, electric power from the right side of the plate, and a veteran leader in the clubhouse, Kansas City Royals right fielder, Jeff Franceour, is without a doubt a huge component for the Royals in 2012.  Coming off of a couple of less than average years, the Royals took a chance on Franceour last season.  A chance that seemed to pay off for both him and his ball club.  Not only did the Royals get a sound outfielder but also a consistent bat that has the ability to get hot and drive in a lot of runs in a short period of time. Franceour also showed the Royals enough for them to sign him to a contract extension to become the present and future part of a very strong outfield.

Over his career Franceour has shown that he has all of the tools to be a very good hitter.  Though his statistics throughout his career have been up and down he is one of those players that will not get cheated on pitches.  He swings for interstate 70 and shows pitchers that he is not afraid to take a good rip at a pitch that they are just willing to put in the zone.  On the other hand, this kind of mentality has hurt hi, at the plate because of his over 100 strikeouts per season on average throughout his career.  So, at the plate with Franceour what you see is what you get.  A lot of pop at times and a lot of misses at times.  But it is the times that he does connect that he needs to bring up to be a key player for the Royals offensively this season.

Not much has to be said about how he plays out in right field.  he is as solid as they come when it comes to being able to get to balls, reading the plays and knowing where to throw the ball, and then throwing that ball on a line to whomever the receiver is.  In his seven seasons in Major League baseball Franceour has averages just under 14 outfield assists per season.  This is a stat that throughout his career may be his most consistent stat.  The guy just has a knack for cutting down runners on the bases. He did flash a little bit with the leather last season but it was his arm that had and has everyone excited for future years for him in Kansas City.

The biggest part that Francouer will play for the Royals in both 2012 and future years is his experience.  Though he is still considered young by many accounts he has been through it all.  He was a highly sought after draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2002, where he and Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals General Manager, first began their relationship. Then he became one of the top prospects in the game along with then Royals third basemen Alex Gordon. Both of whom have gone through the struggles of being a young and upcoming ballplayer but seem to be turning it around just in time for a big push the Royals seem to be making.  After Atlanta, he signed the huge deal with the New York Mets and fell of the face of the Earth a little bit.  His most important experience, which will be essential to the Royals success now and in the future, is when he was traded to the Texas Ranger and was able to get experience in not only postseason play but also in the World Series.  These experiences all add up to being the clubhouse leader for this ball club.  He will be able to help with the highly touted prospects in the Royals system of which he used to be.  And also when the Royals are able to take that next step into October and November he will be able to calm guys down and show them how to be a a postseason player.

So all this being said, at the plate he may not be the best guy at his position but his consistency is key for both him and the Royals this season.  He needs to continue with his hose of an arm out in right field which he has not lacked his entire career.  But he needs to be the guy in the clubhouse.  He needs to be the guy to step up when the team in hot and also when they are losing.  He has solidified right field at Kauffman Stadium as “The French Quarter” but what else will he conquer as the Royals make their run towards championship seasons in the future.

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