Video: Jeff Francoeur hits another timely homer for the Phillies

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Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur has made a habit of racking up timely hits, as I noted at Crashburn Alley a few days ago. Coming into Friday’s action at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Francoeur had six hits that improved the Phillies’ odds of winning by at least 15 percent, using the Win Probability Added statistic, found on FanGraphs and Baseball Reference.

He’s had three hits that were real game-changers: a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth against the Marlins on Sunday (.696 WPA), a tie-breaking two-run double against the Giants in the seventh inning on June 7 (.317 WPA), and a go-ahead three-run home run to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning against the Red Sox on April 8 (.297 WPA).

Francoeur hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th inning against reliever Rafael Soriano on Friday to break a 3-3 tie, registering a WPA of .437 — ranking as his second-most important hit this season. Watch:

[mlbvideo id=”289621183″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

Francoeur, 31, is hitting .265/.298/.469 with nine home runs and 33 RBI on the season. He has reportedly drawn trade interest from the Pirates. The rebuilding Phillies are now 35-63 and still have a seven-game lead for the worst record in baseball, which would earn them the first overall pick in the 2016 draft.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.