The year-after-year Jeff Francoeur propaganda — or, as I shall henceforth call it, “Francoeurganda” — has been well-cataloged by now. No matter how poorly he does, someone is going to say that this, by gum, is the year he breaks out. No matter how little he progresses, Francoeur himself is going to say that he’s working on his plate discipline. You can set your watch by this alternate universe jive. And frankly, I’d miss it if we didn’t have it.
But I gotta tell ya, friends, we may have peaked with this stuff. Because I see no way anyone can pull off a nutsier bit of Francoeurganda than what Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer just pulled, explaining away Frecnhy’s brutal spring training, during which he had an 0-for-25 skid:
“From a swing standpoint, when you watch his video, it is clean and it’s good. It’s solid. He was staying inside the ball. He was staying on the ball. It’s just that his timing was all jacked up because he wasn’t ready to get on it when it’s time to get on it. That’s because he was making sure everything is in its place and exactly right.”
Look, I don’t expect Jeff Francoeur’s own hitting coach to simply come out and say “yeah, he’s having problems and may not be all that good at hitting,” but it seems like there is some truth that can be told between, you know, the real truth, and “he isn’t hitting because he’s making sure everything is just so.”
Now, let us all sit back and wait until June when Francoeur is benched and he demands a trade to a place where he can play full time.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.