The Great Church and Francoeur Debate
The only reason I feel the need to write a comparison article is because I'm already reading a bunch of articles being written about the trade, whether the Braves or the Mets won the deal. My analysis? They both won.
The Mets got exactly what they were looking for; a young athletic outfielder with a power arm who can juice a ball every so often. The Braves got exactly what they needed; a good outfielder who has a very good sense of the strike zone.
It's unfair to look at numbers since the trade because both players were playing well below what they are both capable of doing. Francoeur had worn out his welcome in Atlanta after his whiny reaction to being demoted last year (it's happened to Bret Myers, JJ Hardy, Bill Hall, John Smoltz and the list goes on and on) and for whatever reason Frenchy believed he deserved some level of respect. Anyways, that's a different article for a different time.
Church on the other hand was obviously miffed at the Mets with the way they handled his concussion last year. He was continuously rushed to play by the Mets and Church's own admission. However, Church is nicer when describing how it was handled by simple saying it could have been handled better.
So Church lands in Jerry Manuel's dog house with Manuel's outrageous proclamation during spring training that Daniel Murphy is a better hitter than Church (WHAT?!?!).
Here's the breakdown: Francoeur has played in 29 games vs. Church's 21. However, keep in mind that Church is viewed more as a platoon for the Braves with Matt Diaz. So when you see the AB's (Francoeur's 111 vs. Church's 62), it's a bit misleading as Church has come into games late as a defensive replacement and only gets one AB that night.
Francoeur beats Church in HR (5 vs. 2) and RBI's (20 vs. 10). But looking deeper into the numbers, Francoeur has been hitting fourth, fifth and sixth in the Mets lineup, while Church has batted eigth and first in the Braves lineup. Church has half the hits Francoeur has but again, he has half the AB's. Here is where the Mets have the advantage because this is what they needed.
However, the Braves start gaining the advantage when you factor in the OBP. Francoeur has a .336 OBP to Church's .400 while Church's OPS is higher than Francoeur's as well (.835 to .814). Simply put, Church can turn the lineup over better than Francoeur can.
While the Braves were counting on Francoeur to be more of a run producer to begin the season, those needs began to change with the emergence of Yunel Escobar and Martin Prado (who supplanted Escobar as the two-hole hitter).
The acquisition of McLouth also brought a big bat to Atlanta as well, so the Braves need for a big bopper that they wanted Francoeur to be vanished and what they started to need was a player who can work the count, put up good AB's and get on base, essentially turning the lineup over again and again.
I like Francoeur and I wish him the world of luck and all the good fortunes. However, he was no longer needed in Atlanta.
Sure, Church is older than Francoeur but General Manager Frank Wren did not make this trade with the thought in mind that Church was going to be an Atlanta Brave forever. There's a No. 1 prospect in all of baseball waiting to make his rise and moving Francoeur also aided the next phenom to take over for the Braves.
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