Wednesday, December 16, 2015

You Never Forget Your First

From MLB Trade Rumors, Melvin notes that former Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis has announced his retirement. Francis was the first prospect that we focused on before seeing him in action.

We saw Francis in 2004, along with old pal Red, pitching for the Tulsa Drillers. Shortly after the game we attended, he was called-up to Colorado Springs before finishing the year with the Rockies, going 3-2 (5.15 ERA) in seven starts.

Melvin and I discussed who first took notice of Francis. In an email last night, Melvin wrote, "My recollection is that you told me some preposterous statistics en route to Tulsa, and I said something to the effect of, 'That's preposterous!'"

Indeed, the southpaw would strike out 147 batters in 113.2 innings while at Double-A. That resulted in a 13-1 record (17 starts) and a 1.98 ERA. I remember him striking out the side, then walking off the field like it was nothing, which for him it was.

Francis pitched all or part of eight seasons for the Rockies (2004-2013), interrupted by the 2011 season with Kansas City. He spent time with three teams in 2014 before finishing his career this year with Toronto. He never dominated like he did in the minors, finishing with a 72-82 record, a 4.97 ERA and an average of 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

Melvin and I were a bit disappointed that Francis wasn't able to replicate what we had seen in Tulsa but no matter—you never forget your first.

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