Anton Jamal French
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.
- High School Lafayette High School
1993-1998: Early career
Outfielder Anton French was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 13th pick of the 1993 amateur draft and hit .274/~.336/.368 for the AZL Cardinals that year, stealing 15 in 20 tries. Returning to the same team in '94, he hit .221/.275/.368 with an Arizona League-leading 8 triples. Despite his poor OPS, he made the AZL All-Star team and was named the league's #3 prospect by Baseball America. In 1995, French had one of his best seasons in terms of power, with 10 long balls. He batted .273/~.368/.415 with the Peoria Chiefs and stole 57 in 73 tries, earning him team MVP honors. He lost the Midwest League steal crown to Carlos Hernandez when he was traded for Jose Oliva on August 25, about a week before the season ended. He hit .269/~.345/.308 in 7 games with the Durham Bulls and stole another 4 bases; his 61 thefts were tied for second in the minor leagues that year.
In '96, Anton was at .248/~.291/.389 with Durham (23 SB in 26 tries) when Atlanta dealt him to the Detroit Tigers for Danny Bautista on May 31. With the Lakeland Tigers, he had a .277/~.309/.364 line and stole 24 of 34. That winter, Detroit traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Roberto Duran. He only hit .222/~.291/.2999 with the Dunedin Blue Jays and was 2 for 6 for the Knoxville Smokies. He led Toronto's minor league system with 35 steals, but was caught 15 times.
At age 22/23 in 1998, French was picked by the Seattle Mariners in the minor league rule 5 draft. Anton stole 41 of 49 for the Lancaster JetHawks and had a .268/~.327/.379 batting line, with 8 triples. Seattle let him go after the year and at a young age, he went to the independent leagues, usually the home of older, washed-up minor leaguers.
1999-2002: Indie leagues
In '99, French played in the Northern League for the Massachusetts Mad Dogs and Quebec Les Capitales and hit .377/~.403/.535 and stole 27 bases. He was second in the Northern's eastern division in average, trailing only Brandon Naples. The next year, he moved to the Northern's Allentown Ambassadors and hit .299/~.335/.463. Moving to the Atlantic League in 2001, French batted .253/~.292/.322 with the Long Island Ducks and stole 22 in 32 tries. By '02, French was in a third independent league, joining the Sonoma County Crushers of the Western League. There, he put up a .353/~.378/.515 batting line and made the WL All-Star team. He was third in the league in average and stole a league-leading 48 bases in 53 tries. That led the Boston Red Sox to purchase his contract.
2002-2005: A second try in the affiliated minors
French hit .247/.297/.353 in 20 games with the Trenton Thunder and stole 13 in 19 tries. In '03, he made it to AAA in his 11th pro season, hitting .293/.357/.404 for the Pawtucket Red Sox with 40 steals in 52 attempts and 10 triples (9 doubles only). Let go by Boston, he signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and hit .227/.315/.373 with 15 steals in 16 tries for the Durham Bulls. Released, he was picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays and hit .282/.362/.476 (16-17 in SB) for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and .349/.393/.584 and stole 13 of 19 in 36 games with the Syracuse SkyChiefs. Overall, his AAA line was .297/.359/.494. In 2005, Anton batted .263/.310/.434 for Syracuse, stealing 15 of 18 and legging out 10 triples.
The next year, French signed with the Piratas de Campeche and hit .290/.366/.508 with 15 homers and stole 22 in 32 tries. He batted only .175/.314/.298 in 14 games for the 2007 Potros de Tijuana, though he was 5-for-5 in steal attempts to conclude his playing career.
2008: Independent baseball
French stole 456 bases in his minor league career with 87 triples.
French was named minor league baserunning/bunting coach for the Philadelphia Phillies for 2008.
Sources: 1994-2006 Baseball Almanacs, 1995 Baseball Guide, Minorleaguebaseball.com, Thebaseballcube.com for some independent league stats