Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

14 Feb

Julio Franco

Boy, is he old. Nobody’s quite sure how old, but somewhere in his mid-forties. How old is Julio? As a rookie, he played on a team with Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, Sparky Lyle, and Tug McGraw. So old that Kirby Puckett played in the minor leagues, came up to the majors, played his entire career, waited five years, and was elected to the Hall of Fame — and made his major league debut two years after Julio. So old that for the first eleven years of his career, the major leagues had only 26 teams.

Anyway, Julio was the Braves’ most normal first baseman last year, at least after BJ Surhoff got hurt, and wasn’t totally useless, but still wasn’t good. He got on-base okay (.357 OBP) but had no power to speak of (.382 SLG, 6 homers in 338 AB), and was far below the norm for first basemen. He’s signed to another minor league deal. It’s hard to see how he could make the team again after a season like that, but with Wes Helms gone the Braves are short a righthanded bat for the bench or to platoon with Robert Fick or Matt Franco.

Julio’s last hit of last season was the 2300th of his career; his last home run was his 150th.

Julio Franco Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

4 Responses to “Julio Franco”

  1. 1
    Andrew Bare Says:

    It should be pointed out that Julio has really smashed lefties the last 2 years with Atlanta, so he does have some value as a bench player and defensive replacement.

  2. 2
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I guess. It’s just that Bobby then goes out and does something like start him all five games against the Giants even though four were started by righthanders. And Fick doesn’t have a platoon split to speak of, though it might be worth resting him occasionally. (And you don’t want him facing Randy Johnson!)

  3. 3
    Andrew Bare Says:

    Aye, that’s true enough. As much as I like Bobby, his use of Julio last year was curious, to say the least. Though again, in all fairness, Julio was pretty useful after a hideous April.

    For whatever reason, I’ve acquired a fondness for Julio that exceeds all logical parameters, so I’m much less critical when he’s used improperly than when Lockhart was used improperly.

  4. 4
    Colin Says:

    It’s just that Bobby then goes out and does something like start him all five games against the Giants even though four were started by righthanders

    This is one thing that infuriates me about Cox sometimes. There are players out there who have useful value, but Cox just can’t be trusted to have them around because he’ll play the hell out of them. Julio might be one, Lockhart was the definitive example. And was it 1999 when the team had two very effective platoons going, Hunter/Simon at 1B and Klesko/Gerald Williams in LF. Then after a hot week or so, Cox decided to play Gerald full-time thereafter, ruining the effective LF platoon, and shifting Klesko over to 1B to platoon there with Hunter. And so it went into the playoffs. Sigh.

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