Awful Mets Outfielders

Posted on July 22, 2010 by


If I asked you to make a list of your least-favorite Mets of all time, chances are the names Jeromy Burnitz, Roger Cedeno, Vince Coleman, George Foster, Juan Samuel and Ryan Thompson would be on it. All of these players were guys blessed with great physical talents and for whatever reason did not perform well in their tenure with the Mets. In turn they were reviled by the fan base.

These guys played in different eras, so let’s use OPS+ to rank their awfulness. In descending order they are:

90 – 1982 Foster – in the six previous seasons he reached 150 in OPS+ five times.
90 – 1994 Thompson – pegged as young OF who could do it all, turned out he couldn’t do anything.
86 – 1993 Coleman – was brought in to help replace Darryl Strawberry and simply stunk.
80 – 2002 Burnitz – coming off a 34-HR, 100-RBI season, he was half that player in ’02.
78 – 2002 Cedeno – a budding star in his first go-round, he seemed fat and lazy this time.
76 – 1989 Samuel – a one-time slugging 2B, he was a disaster as a CF at age 28.

The reason to bring up these bad memories from yesteryear is to point out that a guy on our current team belongs in this discussion. That’s right, Mr. Intangibles, Jeff Francoeur, currently sits with an 81 OPS+. That’s right – lazy Coleman, overhyped Thompson and disinterested Foster were all similar, but slightly more valuable than smiling Francoeur.

Pointing out that Francoeur is not good is nothing new. And for some it will seem like kicking a guy when he is down, now that Francoeur has been relegated to the bench with the return of Carlos Beltran. However, consider this a pre-emptive strike. The Mets are winless with Beltran starting and Jason Bay appears unable to make contact even if he was swinging with a car door.

It is only a matter of time before the press starts bellowing about how the Mets current slide started once Francoeur left the lineup. The team obviously misses his gritty leadership on the field, leadership he is unable or unwilling to provide while sitting on the bench.

The occasional spot start to spell Bay or Beltran is a fine role for Francoeur the rest of the season. He does not need to play on a regular basis, including starts versus LHP. This year, the average OPS versus LH starters in the National League is .737 and Francoeur has a .692 mark versus southpaw starters. So, while Francoeur does better against lefties, he is still below average against them.

So, whenever Francoeur strolls to the plate the thought that pops into fans heads should be the same idea that materialized when Burnitz or Cedeno or Coleman or Foster or Samuel or Thompson came to the plate:


Posted in: Perspectives