Was Francoeur a better player in 2007 than in 2006? He was a more productive hitter, but it’s almost all batting average, a 33 point rise. His isolated power was down 38 points, due to a redistribution of his extra-base hits; he had the same number as in 2006, 59, but ten homers and all six triples turned into doubles. Struck out three fewer times in ten more plate appearances. So what we have is a small increase in walk rate (29 to 42) and a few more singles. His batting average on balls in play rose by 51 points. So better, or just a little more hit-lucky? I don’t know, but the extra-base hits thing is weird. The walk increase is encouraging, and he hit slightly better in months when he walked more, so maybe he’ll get some positive feedback.
I don’t know if he deserved the Gold Glove, but the Gold Glove standards for corner outfielders are weird anyway since the rules don’t make the voters break it down by position. His range factors aren’t particularly impressive, but I think there are some context illusions there, the same ones that make whoever’s in left field look like a Gold Glover, and his arm is a legitimate weapon.
Had his best year as a basestealer — five of seven successful… I’ve printed his most-similar list before; it’s dominated by power-hitters of the previous generations, like Luzinski and Burroughs. The list is misleading, because those guys generally walked a lot; Sim Scores don’t create a big penalty for differences in walks, because they usually trace other stats. I think his true most-similar hitter is Ellis Valentine, another guy with a big arm, whose best year and last good year was at 25. Hopefully Jeff can overcome that, and it’s an improvement on Tony Armas.