What The Heck Is Going On With Jeff Francis?
Let’s get all the qualifiers out of the way first: spring training stats do not matter, he still has to pitch at Coors Field, he still only throws like 86 mph, etc. etc.
Now let’s ask an important question: what the heck is going on with Jeff Francis?
Francis has been a star this spring. Actually. Image: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Granted, his outing yesterday was against AAA opponents. But who are we to discredit a strong 7 inning performance given the current state of the Colorado Rockies? Francis enjoys a minuscule 1.96 ERA this spring and was under serious consideration for the opening day start. Instead he will settle for the home opener, a feat that seemed impossibly unlikely in itself as recently as the moment when Francis re-upped with the Rockies this past winter.
There is precedent for a soft-tossing left-handed starting pitcher playing an unexpectedly important role in the Rockies rotation (Jamie Moyer, anybody?) And a nice little bit of baseball history notwithstanding, that did not end well. So the optimism attached to Francis’s current success should be of the most cautious variety. To provide an NCAA tournament analogy, you should be as hopeful about Francis sustaining this success as you are about your #12 seed that’s supposed to reach the sweet 16. You can get excited about the possibility, but don’t get ahead of yourself.
One final note. Thomas Harding provided my favorite Rockies headline, possibly ever, in his piece about Francis today.
Francis poised to open eyes with guile.
Man. So jealous that’s not mine.