Jeff Francis
Jeff Francis
37-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Jeff Francis in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a minor league contract (NRI) with the Blue Jays in October of 2014.
PFree Agent  
December 15, 2015
Francis announced his retirement from baseball Tuesday, the Denver Post reports.
ANALYSIS
The lefty turned in strong numbers in his time with the Blue Jays' Triple-A Buffalo affiliate in 2015 (2.35 ERA, 1.05 WHIP), but was knocked around at the major league level and ultimately decided "it was time" to hang up the cleats. A first-round pick in 2002 (ninth overall), he helped lead the Rockies to the World Series in 2007, going 17-7 with a 4.22 ERA, and ranks third in Rockies history with 64 career wins.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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After pitching for three major league teams and a minor league club in 2014, Francis’ 2015 was relatively tame. He signed with the Blue Jays organization and after a strong spring, was sent down to Triple-A anyway. Francis pitched very well in the minors, going 6-3 with a 2.35 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and a 79:13 K:BB ratio in 92.0 innings across 19 appearances (14 starts). He eventually got a call up to the big leagues and made 14 appearances—mostly in mop-up duty—while posting a 6.14 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP in 22.0 innings. Rather than spend another year as an organizational depth arm, Francis chose to retire in December.
If there is anything that underscores the porous state of the Rockies rotation last season, it's that Francis - who at age 31 opened the season at Triple-A in the Reds organization - finished the season as the team's leader in innings pitched. Francis had some initial success when the team moved to a four-man rotation that limited pitch counts to around 75 per outing, but ultimately got hit around with greater frequency and finished with a 5.58 ERA. Even so, Francis' 4.27 FIP and excellent 1.8 BB/9 indicate a bit of a turnaround could be in order if he were to get another chance this season. While Francis' high contact rate may forever pose a problem at hitters' parks like Coors Field, his ability to eat innings and limit walks continues to keep him in contention for a place in the back of the Colorado rotation.
Francis saw a steep decline in his velocity as he continued to try and resurrect what was once a promising career. He lost over two mph on his fastball (84.7) and more than that on his secondary pitches. At 31 years old, he's not yet Jamie Moyer with his arm strength, but he's getting there. Over the last two seasons, he's walked fewer than 2.0 BB/9IP, which has allowed him to keep his head above water, but just barely. A free agent after the season, Francis offers little upside to his new club. Unless he lands in a pitchers park with an excellent defense behind him, owners can safely take a pass on the former ninth overall pick (2002).
Francis spent much of 2010 trying to regain the form he showed in 2007, before ineffectiveness and shoulder surgery derailed his career. He made 19 starts, of which only a handful were useful to fantasy owners. His poor record (4-6) and below average stats (5.00 ERA and 1.361 WHIP) don't tell the whole story as he was able to post career highs in K/BB ratio (2.91) and groundball rate (47.0 percent), while regaining much of the velocity he lost in the last two seasons. If he can remain healthy, which is a big "if," he may yet be able to salvage part of what was once a promising career. Fantasy owners would be wise to wait until Francis strings together some productive starts before investing in him in 2011.
Francis' shoulder injury tarnished and shortened his 2008 season, and continued to wreck havoc into 2009. Initially, the plan was to rehab him without the use of surgery. However, by February, it was clear that surgery would be required to alleviate his pain. It remains to be seen how successful the surgery went, but the shoulder does still appear to be causing him discomfort. Should he find himself healthy, Francis (who has never finished a season with an ERA below 4.00), serves as an innings-eater for the Rockies despite initial expectations that he'd eventually become their ace. He was a big piece of the 2007 puzzle for the Rockies, but was never an appealing fantasy option, even before the injury, and he definitely isn't now.
The left shoulder inflammation that ruined the second half of his season provides an excuse, but let's face it: Francis wasn't very good even before being shut down. He doesn't miss enough bats or command his stuff well enough, and while the latter trait should change--Francis continues to learn how to pitch with his middling stuff--he's a fantasy time bomb as a Rockie in his current state.
Francis was Colorado's most consistent pitcher in 2007 and for a second season showed that he's an option in most fantasy leagues despite the thin air in Denver. His strikeout rate improved to 6.90 K/9IP and his walks decreased to 2.63 BB/9IP. He did give up 25 home runs, a jump from 18 allowed in 2006. Still, he enters 2008 as Colorado's ace and should post similar numbers as long as Coors Field doesn't go back in time to a massive hitter's park.
Francis avoided the sophomore slump and made nice strides in 2006. The humidor and his improved ground-ball/fly-ball rate (1.24 vs. 1.00 in 2005) helped lower his ERA by a run and a half despite a regression in his K/9 from 6.3 to 5.3. He'll never blow hitters away. Rather, the former first-round pick relies on location and savvy a la Tom Glavine. Francis appeared tired down the stretch (7.31 September ERA), something he'll look to improve on this year. With Jason Jennings gone to Houston, he could be the team's opening day starter.
Francis' 14 wins led all rookies in 2005. Interestingly, he pitched much better at Coors Field than on the road, partly because his unique arm angle coincides with a white backdrop. Nevertheless, he was quite inconsistent throughout the year and wore down as the season went on. He'll start 2006 as Colorado's No. 3 starter and should improve on his rookie campaign.
Francis has the best arm in the Colorado organization. Barring a spring training flop, the lefty will start the season in Colorado's rotation. The ninth overall pick in 2002, he has shown dominating velocity and command at every stop in the minors. His impressive 16-3 record with a dazzling 193/28 K/BB ratio, 1.90 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 151 2/3 innings between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs indicate the makings of a major league ace. If he's as good as advertised and can brave the thin air that has defeated many a prospect before him, Francis could be the only Rockies starter worth owning in 2005.
The Rockies' first-round pick in the 2002 has been impressive since being taken ninth overall. He's more than held his own at two levels of A-ball, and even threw a no-hitter last season for high Single-A Visalia. He's slotted to start the season at Double-A, but if the 23-year-old lefty shows continued mastery of the minors, it won't be long before he catches a flight to Colorado.
The Rockies' first-round draft pick in 2002, Francis dominated hitters in Low Single-A play in four games. He'll face a much sterner test in 2003.
More Fantasy News
PToronto Blue Jays  
September 1, 2015
The Blue Jays recalled Francis from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reports.
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PToronto Blue Jays  
August 30, 2015
Francis was outstanding for Triple-A Buffalo, conceding just two hits and one earned run while only needing 80 pitches across eight innings to record the win in Saturday's victory over Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
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PToronto Blue Jays  
July 29, 2015
Francis tossed seven shutout innings for Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, giving up just five hits while striking out four in their victory over Syracuse.
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PToronto Blue Jays  
May 20, 2015
Francis cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday.
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PToronto Blue Jays  
May 17, 2015
Francis was designated for assignment Sunday, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reports.
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