Fournier Looks to Start Fresh

The Mets drafted Chris Fournier in the 16th round of the 2007 draft out of George Mason University. He spent the summer in Brooklyn, appearing in 21 games before a shoulder injury truncated his season. He was a second baseman in college, but a shift to the outfield at the professional level has brought about new challenges for Fournier.

Though the drafting of Chris Fournier in the middle rounds most likely did not catch anyone's eye, he entered the system off a final collegiate season in which he hit for a .369 average while slugging 14 home runs and 53 RBI in 54 games for his Patriot League squad. The 23-year-old second baseman-turned-outfielder reported to Brooklyn with the excitement of a new position and the chance to prove his abilities at the professional level.

However, in the ever-crowded Cyclones outfielder playing time came a premium and as a nagging shoulder injury lingered, Fournier saw his name in the lineup with little consistency.

"It was tough not getting into the lineup everyday. I wanted to show them the things I can do, and I think there were a couple spurts of where I played well, but then the shoulder problem hung around and all that just made things a bit disappointing," he said.

In his limited time, Fournier hit just hit just .224 with one home run, nine RBI and two doubles—numbers that were a drastic drop off from the production he was used to in college. He feels confident that the statistics he posted this year are not indicative as to the kind of player he is.

"I'm a line drive hitter with good pop and I'm always trying to drive the ball the other way. I've always had good power, but I didn't get it to show it this year unfortunately. But I know with consistent at-bats and the full strength of my arms I'll be able to show the power I had in college as I continue in pro ball," he explained.

He is also an aggressive hitter, not shy to attack pitchers early in counts and jump on the first fastball he sees. Though that aggressive can occasionally backfire, evident by his 24 strikeouts in 76 at-bats, Fournier does not feel a change in his approach would serve him better at this time.

"I'm always looking for a fastball early in the count, and if I get it, I'm going to jump at it," he said. "I know I struck too much this season, and that I need to sharpen up my two-strike approach, but I need to take advantage of the first or second pitch fastball and hit it hard. I can't always be too specific in what I'm looking for."

With the switch to the outfield, the return of his power stroke and power numbers will be necessary if he is to stay in the position long-term and keep progressing up the system, but he has the self-assurance that will return when he gets a shot a dependable playing time.

"I know the power is there, but this season different in that regard because I hit only one home run and a few extra base hits in limited playing time while I was injured, so I didn't get to show the power that I know I have. I'm not too worried about it. When I'm out there on a daily basis, that should all come back," said Fournier.

The bigger focus of his off-season will be his progression in the outfield. Due to the injury, he was penned in the lineup as a designated hitter most of the season and thus relied on off-days and batting practice sessions to work on his defense. Though he made some strides working with outfield coordinator Sonny Jackson, and observing the skills of slick-handed Raul Reyes, he acknowledges he still needs growth in the finer points of the position.

"I'm new to the position so there is plenty to learn, but I think made real progress is taking my routes to the ball, reading the ball off the bat and getting my body in position. The one thing that really needs to get better is my arm strength," he said.

Being a second baseman his whole life prior to Brooklyn, arm strength becomes a legitimate concern. After never having to throw the ball more than 90 feet, it now becomes a question as to whether or not Fournier can make the necessary throws from the outfield. With just a small sample size from this past summer, there is not much from which to base a critique. What it comes down to is mechanics—and he agreed.

"Arm strength was never an issue in the past," he said. "But now in the outfield, I'm learning about the difference in the arm slot between the two positions. I'm working on the delivery of the ball which I think will make a big difference in strength and the way I throw the ball. I need to get my entire body into the throw as opposed to second base which is usually all arm."

His rookie season can best be summed up as a patchwork effort. The shoulder injury and the sparing playing time did not allow Fournier to show all of what he offers. Yet Fournier has proven resilient and optimistic, that with the new season comes new opportunities.

" I learned how tough it is to play minor league baseball everyday and how much of a grind it is, but I love this game and I know I can play it well when I've got all my physical tools. I may not have met any of my on-field goals, but I've got a few months to go until camp and I'll be ready to go out there with a clean slate and show what did during my college career can be brought here."

\r\n \r\n\r\nThough the drafting of Chris Fournier in the middle rounds most likely did not catch anyone's eye, he entered the system off a final collegiate season in which he hit for a .369 average while slugging 14 home runs and 53 RBI in 54 games for his Patriot League squad. The 23-year-old second baseman-turned-outfielder reported to Brooklyn with the excitement of a new position and the chance to prove his abilities at the professional level.
\r\n
\r\nHowever, in the ever-crowded Cyclones outfielder playing time came a premium and as a nagging shoulder injury lingered, Fournier saw his name in the lineup with little consistency.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was tough not getting into the lineup everyday. I wanted to show them the things I can do, and I think there were a couple spurts of where I played well, but then the shoulder problem hung around and all that just made things a bit disappointing,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nIn his limited time, Fournier hit just hit just .224 with one home run, nine RBI and two doubles—numbers that were a drastic drop off from the production he was used to in college. He feels confident that the statistics he posted this year are not indicative as to the kind of player he is.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm a line drive hitter with good pop and I'm always trying to drive the ball the other way. I've always had good power, but I didn't get it to show it this year unfortunately. But I know with consistent at-bats and the full strength of my arms I'll be able to show the power I had in college as I continue in pro ball,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\nHe is also an aggressive hitter, not shy to attack pitchers early in counts and jump on the first fastball he sees. Though that aggressive can occasionally backfire, evident by his 24 strikeouts in 76 at-bats, Fournier does not feel a change in his approach would serve him better at this time.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm always looking for a fastball early in the count, and if I get it, I'm going to jump at it,\" he said. \"I know I struck too much this season, and that I need to sharpen up my two-strike approach, but I need to take advantage of the first or second pitch fastball and hit it hard. I can't always be too specific in what I'm looking for.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith the switch to the outfield, the return of his power stroke and power numbers will be necessary if he is to stay in the position long-term and keep progressing up the system, but he has the self-assurance that will return when he gets a shot a dependable playing time.
\r\n
\r\n\"I know the power is there, but this season different in that regard because I hit only one home run and a few extra base hits in limited playing time while I was injured, so I didn't get to show the power that I know I have. I'm not too worried about it. When I'm out there on a daily basis, that should all come back,\" said Fournier.
\r\n
\r\nThe bigger focus of his off-season will be his progression in the outfield. Due to the injury, he was penned in the lineup as a designated hitter most of the season and thus relied on off-days and batting practice sessions to work on his defense. Though he made some strides working with outfield coordinator Sonny Jackson, and observing the skills of slick-handed Raul Reyes, he acknowledges he still needs growth in the finer points of the position.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm new to the position so there is plenty to learn, but I think made real progress is taking my routes to the ball, reading the ball off the bat and getting my body in position. The one thing that really needs to get better is my arm strength,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nBeing a second baseman his whole life prior to Brooklyn, arm strength becomes a legitimate concern. After never having to throw the ball more than 90 feet, it now becomes a question as to whether or not Fournier can make the necessary throws from the outfield. With just a small sample size from this past summer, there is not much from which to base a critique. What it comes down to is mechanics—and he agreed.
\r\n
\r\n\"Arm strength was never an issue in the past,\" he said. \"But now in the outfield, I'm learning about the difference in the arm slot between the two positions. I'm working on the delivery of the ball which I think will make a big difference in strength and the way I throw the ball. I need to get my entire body into the throw as opposed to second base which is usually all arm.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis rookie season can best be summed up as a patchwork effort. The shoulder injury and the sparing playing time did not allow Fournier to show all of what he offers. Yet Fournier has proven resilient and optimistic, that with the new season comes new opportunities.
\r\n
\r\n\" I learned how tough it is to play minor league baseball everyday and how much of a grind it is, but I love this game and I know I can play it well when I've got all my physical tools. I may not have met any of my on-field goals, but I've got a few months to go until camp and I'll be ready to go out there with a clean slate and show what did during my college career can be brought here.\"
\r\n
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