- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.
Francesco Imperiali is the brother of Renato Imperiali. He played in the minor leagues and has been on the Italian national team occasionally for over a decade. He was the MVP of the 2012 Italian Series.
Francesco debuted with Anzio in 2000 at age 16; he hit .186/.293/.233 with 59 strikeouts in 172 AB against older competition and fielded .902 at shortstop. He then signed with the Seattle Mariners. In 2001, he hit .284/.366/.345 for the AZL Mariners; he split second base and fielded .912. He also fielded .880 in 10 games at third. In the 2001 Baseball World Cup, the youngster hit .238/.333/.286 as a utility infielder for Italy and scored a team-high five runs in six games; he outperformed former minor leaguer Andrea Castri among others. Back with the AZL Mariners in 2002, he batted .285/.376/.333 and drew 26 walks in 51 games, scoring 27 runs. He fielded .953 as their starter at second. He tied for 7th in the Arizona League in walks while leading his club in that department. Despite two good years in the US in terms of OBP, that was it for his minor league career. He was 1 for 4 with a run as a backup infielder for Italy in the 2003 European Championship. He returned to Serie A1 in 2004 to bat .258/.335/.294, fielding .930 at third base, his main position.
In 2005, Imperiali became the second baseman for Nettuno; he showed good glovework while hitting .243/.350/.314. Back with Anzio in '06, he batted .263/.339/.338. Francesco was with T&A San Marino in 2007, producing at a .270/.340/.350 rate.
Imperiali remained with San Marino in 2008 and hit .255/.343/.359 as they went on to take their first Italian Baseball League title. He hit .188/.278/.313 in the Grosseto 2008 European Cup. In the 2008 European Cup Final Four, he was 0 for 8 with a walk. In the 2009 European Cup's Matino phase, Imperiali batted .250/.538/.250 with five walks and six runs in three games. Five of his runs came in a win over FC Barcelona. He wound up leading the Matino phase in both walks and runs.
In 2009, Imperiali hit .319/.391/.407 for San Marino, finishing 10th in the IBL in average and third among native-born Italians (after Davide Dallospedale and Filippo Crociati). He was named the league's All-Star second baseman. He was only 2 for 16 with two walks in the 2009 Italian Series, though, as San Marino fell to Fortitudo Bologna. He scored six runs for San Marino in the 2009 European Cup, leading the Bologna round, but the team failed to advance to the Final Four. He played for Italy in the 2009 Baseball World Cup, his first stint with the national team in eight years. In a 6-4 win over Japan, his 3-run double off Eiichi Hirai was the big blow.
Francesco slumped to .247/.335/.373 for San Marino in 2010. In '11, he rebounded to hit .273/.353/.427. His four home runs tied him for 9th in the Italian Baseball League, including with ex-big leaguers Josh Phelps and Robert Perez. He won his second honor as the All-Star 2B in the IBL in a three-year period. In the 2011 Italian Series, he was even better, producing at a .385/.471/.577 clip with 8 RBI in seven games to give San Marino its second title. In game 7, he was 3 for 4 with 2 runs and 3 RBI. The Series MVP went to double play mate Anthony Granato.
Starting at second for Italy in the 2011 Baseball World Cup, he was atrocious, going 2 for 16 with 7 strikeouts and a hit-by-pitch, though he did play error-free defense. The two hits helped Italy avoid a no-hitter against the Dominican national team, coming off Angel Castro and Runelvys Hernandez.
Imperiali hit .274/.343/.444 for San Marino in 2012, tying for 9th in the league with 12 doubles. He batted .200/.238/.300 in the 2012 European Cup's first round. He again starred in the 2012 Italian Series, though his numbers were down: .364/.417/.591 with 5 RBI in six games as San Marino repeated as titlists. This time, though, he got the MVP, thanks to a stellar game six. He hit a 3-run homer off Roberto Corradini in the second to start the scoring. Then, in the bottom of the 9th, with a 4-4 tie, he doubled off Sandy Patrone to score Laidel Chapellí with the Series winner.