Francoeur in "smart-hot" mode

June, 7, 2010
6/07/10
12:26
PM ET
David Wright used to have a phrase when former Met Carlos Delgado would get on one of his ridiculous two-week tears when he'd crush baseball after baseball, and put up numbers that were MVP-like.

Wright would refer to Delgado, one of the smartest players on the team, as being in "stupid-hot" mode.

Jeff Francoeur's on one of those kind of runs right now, one that qualifies as both "stupid-hot" and "smart-hot."

In his last 12 games, Francoeur has a .476 batting average, 12 RBI (including a game-tying three-run home run Sunday) and only four strikeouts.

The Francoeur who hit .457 in the first 10 games of the season has re-emerged, at least briefly, leaving the one who hit .137 in the 35-game stretch that followed behind.

What's been the key? We have a three-pronged response based on a closer look at our Inside Edge video review data with Stats and Information colleague John Fisher.

1- Francoeur has adjusted his approach.

Francoeur is not missing fastballs as much. During his 35-game funk, Francoeur missed on about one of every four swings at fastballs. Now he's missing on one of every 16. That's a huge help.

Basically Francoeur has reverted back to his form from those first 10 games. You may recall that we wrote how during his funk, Francoeur had gone from approaching fastballs like Luis Castillo, to approaching them like Al Leiter.

In this hot streak, Francoeur has returned to Castillo-esque form. He hasn't struck out against a fastball in these 12 games, and it's paid huge dividends, because...

2- Francoeur is bashing the slower stuff

Francoeur's game-tying home run against the Marlins came against a slider, and it was payoff for a series of successes he's had against off-speed pitches.

Pitchers have thrown Francoeur fewer fastballs during this tear, thinking that they can get him out sliders, curves and changeups. The opposite has happened. He's made them pay.

Francoeur has had 42 at-bats in these last 12 games and most have ended with him ripping either a curveball, slider, or changeup. He's 17-for-30 (.567 batting average) against those three pitches, basically tripling his batting average against them compared to when he was in meltdown mode for a month.

Remember that? Seems like a distant memory, and that's because...

3- Francoeur is hitting em where they ain't

One of the lowpoints of Francoeur's funk was on May 12 against the Nationals when rightfielder Roger Bernadina made an absurd fifth-inning catch to rob Francoeur of a three-run double.

It took Francoeur six days to even get a hit after that play. He went 0-for-12 with four strikeouts against the Marlins in the next series.

But there's been a make-up factor for those balls that weren't falling in. Francoeur's BABIP (Batting Average when he puts the ball in the field of play) was .220 heading into the start of the Phillies series on May 25th.

Since then, it's .500, meaning that if Francoeur makes contact, and the ball stays in the park, he's getting a hit half the time. That's an absurd rate.

It's one that even the best of hitters can't sustain, but it's rare for a hitter to have one of .220 as well. In the end, the hot streaks and cold streaks mix together, as they've done for Francoeur. His season-long BABIP is .286, basically the midpoint of how he's done the last two years.

Francoeur' season numbers, .268 batting average with six home runs, are actually a pretty good match for those which Francoeur put up in his first five big league seasons.

The destination is landing Francoeur at a similar point. It's just that the journey has been one of hots and colds. Right now, he's some-kind-of-hot, and the Mets are winning (at least at home) as a result.

Mark Simon is a researcher for Baseball Tonight. Follow him on Twitter at @msimonespn or e-mail him at webgemscoreboard@gmail.com.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187