Here's something I found kind of interesting.
Jeff Francoeur this season is hitting .269/.312/.451.
Jeff Francoeur in his career is hitting .268/.310/.427.
In other words, Frenchy is hitting EXACTLY like he has hit his entire career. Well, not exactly -- over 369 plate appearances, has basically has one more hit and eight more total bases than his career numbers would predict. But it's almost mathematically and logically impossible for a player to hit MORE like his career numbers halfway through the season.
So: Frenchy is Frenchy. No better. No worst. Exactly the same.
But ... he is better. Why?
Offense is way down this year. That's why. So when you look at a stat like OPS+, which adjusts the number to the players ballpark and league, you can see that he's actually have a much better year than in the past:
Jeff Francoeur's career OPS+: 93
Jeff Francoeur's 2011 OPS+: 111
In other words, Jeff Francoeur is exactly the same at a hitter. But the LEAGUE HITTERS are significantly worse. His numbers usually make him all but unplayable. This year, the exact same numbers might make him an interesting trade-deadline pickup. Francoeur is like Gulliver. He stays the same. Only the worlds around him change.
And there's this:
Career numbers vs RHP: .255/.296/.402
2011 numbers vs. RHP: .249/.296/.389
Career numbers vs. LHP: .301/.345/.494
2011 numbers vs. LHP: .333/.365/.654
The Frenchy Formula is as constant as the law of gravity. He crushes lefties. He can't hit righties. He doesn't walk. He plays his heart out. And if you play him every day he will give you right about a .740 to .750 OPS. In 1968, that sort of year earned Boog Powell and Ernie Banks MVP votes. In 1996, that sort of year helped convince Eddie Murray that it was about time to hang it up. The times change. Francoeur endures.