The Braves Show.com has learned the Atlanta Braves have sent struggling outfielder Jeff Francoeur to Double-A Mississippi. Richmond outfielder Jason Perry will be called up to the big leagues Friday.
Francoeur has been in a horrible slump for most of the season. The Braves are sending him to work with Mississippi Manager Phillip Wellman, who has worked well with Francoeur in the past and is well respected in the organization as a solid hitting instructor.
Francoeur was 0-4 Thursday to lower his season average to .234. He has eight home runs and 41 RBI in 334 at bats. Since June 1st Francoeur has hit only .193 (22-114) with two home runs and eight RBI. He's hit only .098 in his last twelve games.
The demotion comes almost three years to the day when Francoeur was first brought up to the major leagues. His disappointing season has practically been symbolic of the entire year for the Braves' team.
Francoeur made great improvements from the 2006 season to 2007, improving his batting average 33 points (to .293) and his OBP 45 points (to .338). While the power decreased (from 29 in 2006 to 19 in 2007), Francoeur still looked like a better hitter and had more quality plate appearances last season.
But this season has been a struggle. At the end of April Francoeur's average was at .273 through the first 27 games, but he had only three home runs (2 in one game in Washington on April 12th). Then since May 1st Francoeur has just been in a horrible funk, hitting only .214 (48-224) with five home runs and 22 RBI.
Perry was signed by the Braves in mid-April and assigned to the Double-A team in Mississippi. Perry is a left-handed hitter who went to Jonesboro High School, south of Atlanta, and also attended Georgia Tech. He was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth round of the 2002 draft. A year later Perry was traded to Oakland completing a trade in which the Athletics sent outfielder John-Ford Griffin to Toronto. Oakland then traded him to the Tigers' organization last August for Jack Hannahan.
Perry has had some decent seasons in the minor leagues, but this will be his first shot in the majors. He played in 38 games for Mississippi and hit .314 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 137 at bats. Perry was then promoted to Triple-A Richmond and has hit .302 with five home runs and 14 RBI in 106 at bats. Overall this season, Perry has hit .309 with 18 home runs and 55 RBI in 243 at bats, with a .412 on base percentage.
The Braves will start Friday's series against Houston with a 40-46 record, seven games out of first place in the National League East.
Bill Shanks hosts The Atlanta Baseball Show on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and The Bill Shanks Show on SportsRadio 105.5 the Fan in Macon. He is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. You can email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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