Jeff Francoeur tops list of '11 overachievers

Updated: August 18, 2011, 5:08 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
The Kansas City Royals and veteran outfielder Jeff Francoeur agreed to a two-year contact extension that was announced Thursday, and although I'm happy for the man -- he's actually quite nice -- the fact is that fantasy owners should avoid making a similar investment. Francoeur has had a nice comeback season, generally speaking; he's hitting .277 with 15 home runs and a surprising career-high 19 stolen bases. He's also on pace for a career high in walks, so at least he's trying to more patient at the plate, though it's certainly not what I would call a good pace.

Regardless (and predictably), Francoeur wasn't drafted in many ESPN standard leagues, even though he's now at 100 percent owned (along with three other outfielders that weren't widely drafted: Melky Cabrera, Ryan Roberts and Desmond Jennings). There have been other top free-agent pickups this season -- Mark Trumbo, Justin Masterson, Ryan Vogelsong and Alex Avila jump to mind -- but my point is that even now, as a top-50 choice on the ESPN Player Rater (entering Thursday), Francoeur has been erratic. In two months this season, he was terrific (.912 OPS in April, .908 OPS in July and a combined seven home runs, 34 RBIs and 32 runs) and in two other months he wasn't good at all (.675 OPS in May, .647 OPS in June). So what will Frenchy do the rest of August and September? Beats me, but the inconsistency factor alone makes him risky.