I know I say "Huh, I thought he'd be a lot older than that" or something to that effect fairly often in these silly little birthday posts, but good grief, Jeff Francoeur really seems like he should be at least half a decade older. And it's not like I just found out his age, either. I remember hearing last season that Francoeur was just 30 years old and it surprised me every time I heard it. I guess some things just so farfetched that one's brain refuses to absorb them. Give me a week or two and I'm going to be amazed he's just 31.
Francoeur wasn't a Friar for long -- and performed woefully in the 10 games he was up -- but he did provide Padres fans a lot of entertainment with his exploits down in AAA. Early in the season he made headlines for being the butt of an elaborate prank orchestrated over weeks by all of his El Paso Chihuahuas teammates and coaches; they got him again with a less-involved prank in late July. On the field between those times, Francoeur kept things interesting by pitching an inning here or there in blowouts; all told he made eight appearances on the hill, putting up a 3.68 ERA by allowing three earned runs over his 7.1 innings. As for his offensive statistics, they were pretty much what you'd expect out of Jeff Francoeur in AAA: .289/ .320/ .450 with 22 doubles, 15 homers, a nice amount of RBI, and barely any walks in 487 plate appearances.
Since season's end, Francoeur has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies. If he makes their big league club, it'll be his seventh team in his 11 seasons in the majors. If not, I just hope the organization and their AAA manager, Dave Brundage, let him keep taking the mound.
In addition to Francoeur, five other former Friars celebrate birthdays today. More on (some of? all of?) them later.