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Francoeur was selected by the Braves in the first round of the June 2002 free agent draft. Francoeur advanced steadily through the Braves minor league system playing for Danville (Rookie) in 2002, the Rome Braves (Low A) in 2003, Myrtle Beach (High A) and Greenville B (former AA) in 2004, and, finally, the Mississippi Braves (current AA) in 2005. Francoeur was promoted to Atlanta on July 6, 2005, never playing in AAA. He was part of the group of rookie players nicknamed the "Baby Braves" that Atlanta called up from its minor league system during the 2005 season.
Francoeur made his Major League debut when he started in right field against the Chicago Cubs in the second game of a double header on July 7, 2005. In the bottom of the 8th inning he hit a 3-run home run to center field, his first Major League hit, and received a curtain call from the Braves faithful at Turner Field. After the game he was given the customary hazing of new players, having a shaving cream pie spread on his face by teammate Marcus Giles. His rookie campaign was highlighted by his spectacular offense and defense. Francoeur was 3rd among the Major Leagues in outfield assists, despite playing less than half the season. He also compiled 35 extra base hits, including 14 home runs. He finished 3rd in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, having the most second place votes.
Francoeur was a 2002 graduate of Parkview (GA) High School where he led Parkview to the Georgia State 5-A championship in baseball and was also a star football player, leading his high school team to two undefeated seasons in 2001 and 2002, which included back to back state championships. Francoeur turned down a full football scholarship at Clemson University to pursue the game of baseball.
Francoeur hit .443 with 55 HR and 164 RBI during his high school career at Parkview.
In 2004 Francoeur was named the top prospect in the Braves organization by Baseball America. He was a member of the Carolina League regular season and postseason All-Star team. In 2005, he was selected to play in the Major League Baseball Futures game before getting called up by Atlanta.
Francoeur finished the 2005 season batting .300/.336/.549 in 67 games. Francoeur also tallied 14 home runs and 44 RBIs. During his rookie season he garnered a reputation as a free swinging fastball hitter, with his first walk not coming until his 128th at bat. On defense, Francoeur is known for having a strong, accurate arm. He has also become a hometown favorite among Braves fans.
His rookie campaign was highlighted by his spectacular offense and defense. Francoeur was 3rd among the Major Leagues in outfield assists, despite playing less than half the season. He also compiled 35 extra base hits, including 14 home runs. He finished 3rd in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, having the most second place votes.
Francoeur, being somewhat gangly, had a workout regimen for the 2005 offseason which resulted in a gain of approximately 10 pounds of muscle. His plan was hamstrung when he acquired an infection near his eye from complications from his facial surgery in 2004. He was on a regiemnt of antibiotics for weeks to cure it.
World Baseball Classic
- Selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 1st round (23rd pick overall) of the free-agent draft (June 4, 2002 - signed July 8, 2002).
On the strap of his left hand batting glove, Francoeur has the words "Joshua 1:9" written, obviously referencing the Bible verse. That verse reads: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."