Is Seattle Mariners' Ty France a Pitch Magnet?

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners
Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners / Stephen Brashear/GettyImages

We often think of Ty France in terms of his many contributions to the team at first base and at the bat. Only yesterday, he hit a home run and we anticipate that he will hit more as the season progresses.

Strangely enough, he also attracts pitches in addition to his excellent baseball skills. In this current season, France has been hit by a pitch eight times. Last year, he was third in the AL being hit 21 times, and in 2021, he was first in the AL, having been hit 27 times. Often, the hits are not severe, but yesterday, he left the game and his return is TBD. However, Divish did say that France is feeling alright after initially being scared about it.

France is Fourth in HBP in Mariners’ History

France shares his pitch magnetism with several famous Mariners players.

1. Edgar Martinez 89/8674 PA (plate appearances)
2. Kyle Seager 63/6204 PA
3. Dave Valle 60/2835 PA
4. Ty France 58/1565 PA
5. Jay Buhner 53/5828 PA
6. Ken Griffey, Jr. 48/7520 PA
7. Ichiro Suzuki 47/8536 PA
8. Mike Zunino 45/2087 PA
9. Nelson Cruz 40/2558 PA
10. Kenji Johjina 37/1722 PA
T-11. Dylan Moore 34/1073 PA
T-11. Mitch Haniger 34/2314 PA

While France may not be the player with the most hits on the body, not the bat, he does come in first place when it comes to the percentage of body hits per plate appearance.  Martinez and Seager were hit one percent of the time. Buhner, Griffey, and Suzuki were hit less than one percent. Valle, Zunino, Cruz, Johjina, and Haniger were hit between one and two percent. Ty France has been hit 3.7 percent and Dylan Moore has been hit 3.2 percent of the time.

He can unhappily or proudly accept the honor of being the player who has been most often hit by pitchers in Mariners” history.

Which Pitches Has Ty Attracted in 2023?

The following pitchers have hit Ty this season: LAA Shohei Ohtani, COL Jake Bird, COL Brent Suter (two games in a row), STL Jack Flaherty, PHI Matt Strahm, HOU Seth Martinez, TEX Johathan Hernandez (Kolten Wong was also hit by Hernandez and the starting pitcher in the same game), and OAK Trevor May.

He was hit by two sinkers, a cutter, four 4-seam fastballs, and a knuckle curveball. I looked to see if there were any features shared by the pitchers. Two of the pitchers threw left-handed and six threw with the right hand which is close to the ratio of lefties to righties, league-wide. Two were starting pitchers and six were relief pitchers. Are relief pitchers more likely to hit batters?

Once we have Ty France and then Dylan Moore back, I plan to look more carefully at their stance at the plate to see if I can discern any reason why the two of them are hit more often. Pitch magnetism is a painful quality, and one that Mariners fans all over would hope to see happen less to Ty.