After passing through a small negative window, I'm fully back on the Ty France bandwagon. I'm not gonna say I left it, but I definitely walked to the back of the wagon and took a firm look at the steps leading out. I'm back in the drivers seat now, and excited to see what he can do in 2024.
Ty France is #12 in our 2024 Mariners player rankings
Ty France eeked out Josh Rojas, clearing him to get to #12 by decimal points. I think there are a handful of things that France can do to make us all look stupid at having him this low in the rankings, and a lot of them seem to be underway already. It wasn't long ago that we had him much higher, as he was T-5th and came in 6th after tiebreakers in last year's ratings. Heading into 2022, he was #2!!!
It's easy to forget how good someone was, and Ty France was a fantastic hitter for quite a while. Pre 2022, Schoenfield thought his bat was good enough to win the batting title. He hit .302 in 2020, .291 in 2021, and was raking in the first half of 2022 while hitting .316 through June 23rd. That's where the bugaboo comes in though, as we need Ty to stop getting hit by pitches. He's been hit 82 times in the last three seasons, leading the league in 2021 and 2023.
I mention it, and have before, because it seems to impact his ability to hit consistently while staying healthy. You can continually look at his HBP and find correlations in dips in batting average. I already think that Ty France can push for a 300 average, since he has shown that ability multiple times in the past. There is another big factor that we need to remember here.
TY FRANCE IS GOING TO DRIVELINE!
We saw the insane strides that JP Crawford took in 2023 after spending the offseason at Driveline. JP went from a 3.2 oWAR with a slash of .243/.339/.336 and 6 HR. Last year, he was a top 3 offensive SS in all of baseball with a 5.4 oWAR, a league-leading 94 walks, a career high 19 homers, all while slashing .266/.380/.438.
I'm not saying Driveline is going to turn Ty France into prime Frank Thomas or anything, but if he is there with his teammates this offseason, taking it serious, focusing on his craft, is it wild to expect/predict a return to the 300 BA and 20 HR he has shown in the past?
Think about what that could've meant last year for the Mariners. They were 27th in SLG at first base. You push France's SLG back to a .450, and I guarantee they finish with another win or two. A 4-win Ty France compared to a 1-win Ty France, and the Mariners are still sitting home over Wild Card weekend but doing so with an AL West Title and bye under their belt.
Ty France comes in at #12 on our rankings heading into 2024... but I have a strong feeling we are going to look back and wish that we ranked him higher.