Jeffrey Braden Francoeur was born January 8, 1984 in Atlanta Georgia. He was a high school baseball & football star in Georgia, winning two straight state titles in both sports. He was about to sign with Clemson where he was going to play defensive back in football as well as baseball. Instead, Francoeur got drafted in the first round by his hometown Braves in 2002, the 23rd pick overall.
He moved up through the Braves organization very quickly and in July 2005 was called up to fill in for an injured Brian Jordan. In his first game he hit a three run HR, and stayed hot batting over .400 in his first month.
In the outfield his great arm gave him 13 assists in only 67 games, third best in the majors.
In his first full season he played in every game hitting 29 HRs driving in 103 runs, with 24 doubles & six triples. He hit .260 and struck out 136 times, as a free swinger. The next year he improved to .293 driving in over 100 runs again, as his HR total fell off a bit to 19. Defensively he was great winning his first Gold Glove award.
In 2008 he struggled to .238 with only 11 HRs and 71 RBIs. Once labeled the face of the Braves franchise and “The Natural” on the cover of Sports Illustrated he was traded to the New York Mets on July 10th 2009 for Ryan Church. It seems now looking back both these players came to the Mets with promise but neither panned out or were here for very long.
After arriving in New York he was one of the few bright spots in a horrible year. In his first game at Citi Field he had two hits and drove in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds. A week later he hit his first HR, and would hit five HRs with 20 RBIs in his first month as a Met. On July 25th in Houston, he drove in four runs with a three run HR off future Met Tim Byrdak & an RBI base hit in the Mets 10-3 win over the Astros. In the course of that weeks time, he drove in at least one run in eight of ten games.
At the end of August he had a seven game stretch getting eight hits while driving in eight runs going into early September. On August 23rd he made history at Citi Field, as he hit into a game ending unassisted triple play, ending a 9-7 loss to the Phillies.
It was the first game ending triple play since 1927.
From September 10th on he had eleven multi hit games in the last 22 games of the year. On September 19th Francoeur doubled off Washington's John Lannon putting the Mets ahead in the 7th inning. He later scored on in what turned out to be the winning 3-2 run.
In a late September road trip to Florida, he hit HRs in two of the three games leading the Mets to wins. He drove in three runs in the first 6-5 win & then had two RBIs in the 4-0 series ending win. He finished the season hitting .311 with 10 HRs 20 doubles & 41 RBIs in 75 games as a Met. On the season his nine sac flies were 4th most in the league. His .997 fielding% was 4th best in the NL & his 11 assists were 5th best.
In 2010 he got steady playing time as the Mets main right fielder for the first half, until Carlos Beltran returned from his injury. At that point Angle Pagan who was in center was switched to right field & Francoeur found himself as a part time player.
It was the first time in his career he wasn't a starter & he wasn't happy with the decision. He began the year with a sac fly & an RBI double on Opening Day in a 7-1 win over the Marlins. On April 9th he hit a pair of HRs at Citi Field in an 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals.
Francoeur had a hot start with a ten game hit streak giving him a .478 average. But on April 17th he went 0-7 in the Mets twenty inning 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, which dropped his average & it fell further from there. On June 4th he singled in the 6th inning to tie a game up against the Marlins, in which helped R.A. Dickey to a 3-2 win.
Two days later he helped the Mets sweep the series with a three run 8th inning HR off Florida's Tim Wood. The HR tied the games & set up for the win with an Ike Davis RBI ground out in the 8th. In June he got his average up to .265 & drove in 14 runs in the month. In July he drove in just four runs, three of them coming on a three run HR on July 27th.
On August 3rd he hit a game winning solo HR in the 9th inning off Billy Wagner at Turner Field, resulting in a 3-2 Mets win over the Braves. Later in the week he hit a HR off Cole Hamels driving in the only run of the game, in a Johan Santana 1-0 win at Philadelphia.
At the plate he fell off to a .237 average by August 31st, hitting 11 HRs with 16 doubles 10 sac flies (3rd in the NL) & 54 RBIs in 124 games played.
He was then traded to the Texas Rangers on August 29th, for their post season stretch. His outfield play in New York had been good once again, as he led all NL outfielders with 11 assists while posting a .982 fielding %.
Francoeur saw action in nine post season games in Texas, going 3-24 overall with an RBI hit in the ALDS against the Tampa Rays. He was let go to free agency & signed on with the Kansas City Royals.
In 2011 he was the Royals second best hitter behind Alex Gordon batting .285 with 20 HRs 47 doubles (2nd in the AL) ten sac hits (3rd in the AL) & 87 RBIs.
In 2012 his numers fell of as he hit just .235 with 16 HRs 26 doubles & 49 RBIs. The strong armed Francoeur led the AL in assists both seasons & is 29th all time with 116th assists. Overall he has led the league in that category five times ( three straight years) in right field & three times overall as an outfielder.
Personal: Francoeur is an outspoken born-again Christian & wears the phrase "Joshua 1:9" referencing the Bible verse, on the strap of his left batting glove. His family has a long line of teachers from his parents to his brother as well as his sister.