Jeffrey William Francis (born January 8, 1981, in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a left-handed Major League Baseball pitcher for the Colorado Rockies. It is expected that he will miss all of the 2009 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left arm on February 19.
Francis attended Burnsview Secondary School and North Delta Secondary School in North Delta, British Columbia. After playing for the North Delta Blue Jays of the B.C. Premier Baseball League, the highest calibre junior league in Canada.
Francis went on to pursue a major in physics at the University of British Columbia while playing for the UBC Thunderbirds. He was selected in the 1st round (9th pick overall) by the Colorado Rockies in the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. Along with Adam Loewen, who was selected at fourth overall in the same draft, the two received much publicity as they were drafted higher than another other Canadian baseball player ever. Francis was signed Greg Hopkins.
In 2004, Francis was named Minor League Player of the Year by both Baseball America and USA Today, becoming the first player in Colorado Rockies organizational history to win either of the awards. He became the fourth different player to be honored in the same season by both publications, joining Andruw Jones (1995-1996), Rick Ankiel (1999), and Josh Beckett (2001). Combined between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs, Francis went 16-3 with a 2.21 ERA and .194 average against in 24 starts. He struck out 196 batters in 154.2 innings pitched, for a ratio of 11.4 per nine innings. He had more strikeouts than hits (108) and walks (29) combined.
2004: Rookie Year
Francis made his major league debut on August 25, 2004, against the Atlanta Braves, losing the 8-1 decision. He pitched five innings, allowing six runs (on three home runs), walking one, while striking out eight hitters. He earned his first career victory on September 5, 2004, against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park, tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 5-2 victory for the Rockies.
Francis played for Canada at the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
On September 23, 2006, Francis notched his 30th career win against the Atlanta Braves. In the process, he passed Brian Bohanon to become the winningest left-handed pitcher in Rockies history.
On November 22, 2006, Francis signed a four-year deal worth $13.25 million, carrying an option for a fifth year at $7 million. Under MLB rules, the option year would be his first year eligible for free agency. The contract will allow the Rockies/Francis to avoid going to arbitration every year.
On October 24, 2007, Francis became the first Canadian starting pitcher to pitch in the World Series but struggled in lasting only four innings and allowing six runs. The Rockies went on to lose the game 13 - 1.
Like many of his Rockies teammates, Francis struggled to replicate his 2007 success during the 2008 season. He finished the year with a 4-10 record and a 5.01 ERA in 21 starts, although he reported pitching through shoulder soreness for much of the season.
Francis underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder on February 25. As a result, he will miss the entire 2009 season. In addition, the surgery forced Francis to decline the invitation to play for Team Canada in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Francis and his wife Allison Padfield were married on December 31, 2005, in London, Ontario.
Notes and references
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Baseball Almanac Jeff Francis Page
- "A Magnus Force on the Mound" profile in symmetry magazine
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