Monday, May 22, 2006

 

The Franco-Files #3 (5/15-21)

In which we track the exploits of baseball's oldest player: 47-year-old Julio Franco.

Now, in previous updates we have talked about how Julio recieves far less playing time as a New York Met than he did as an Atlanta Brave. And we have explained the basic reason for this. But, let's reiterate. Reiteration never hurts.

Julio is a first baseman. The Mets have a superstar at first base, Carlos Delgado. Therefore, Delgado is going to get far more playing time than our 47-year-old hero, awesome as he may be.

When Julio was with the Braves (2001-2005), he started approximately twice a week. But he also got ample playing time in late-game situations as a defensive replacement. In four full season with the Braves, Julio averaged 115 games and 272 at-bats a season. This season he's on a pace for about 88 games -- and 88 at-bats.

Yes, Julio's role in 2006 is almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter. About once every two games he comes to bat -- usually in the latter third of the ballgame. We'll all just have to adjust to this new reality.

So how was Julio's past week?

Not bad at all. He managed to hit a monstrous .667, after all.

Yes, Julio went 2-for-3. On May 16, he came to bat with runners on second and third and one out in the eighth inning of a game the Mets were winning, 5-3. Julio made it 6-3 with an RBI single to right field. And, three batters later, he came home on Carlos Beltran's run-scoring single. Not bad for an inning's work. Julio's RBI was his first in the month of May. There's more where that came from.

Julio's most recent at-bat was a double against the Yankees' Mike Mussina on May 20. That was Julio's first double of the season -- his first two-bagger since September 26, 2005, to be exact (against the Rockies' Brian Fuentes).

Julio 2006: .261 (6-for-23 w/ HR, 2B, 5 RBIs, 3 runs scored)
Pinch-hitting: .286 (6-for-21 w/ HR, 2B, 5 RBIs, 3 runs scored)
Since Turning 47 on August 23, 2005: .206 (14-for-68)

Pitchers Faced (Week): 3, who were a combined 52 years younger than Julio (17.3 years average)
Pitchers Faced (Year): 21, who have been a combined 367 years younger than Julio (17.5 years average)
Oldest Pitcher Faced (Week): Mike Mussina, Yankees, 37
Oldest Pitcher Faced (Year): Roberto Hernandez, Pirates, 40
Youngest Pitcher Faced (Week): Brad Thompson, Rockies, 24
Youngest Pitcher Faced (Year): Kyle Davies, Braves, 22

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