Key Offensive Cog Showing Signs of Life
By Trevor Pedro
Ty France is back to doing Ty France things, and that should be a welcomed sight for Mariner fans when the team was scuffling through the past few weeks. Unfortunately, this team goes only as far as the pitching; Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, and Ty France take it. Thankfully, the pitching has held up its end of the bargain, and now France is contributing.
The 28-year-old first baseman is arguably the best bat-to-ball hitter in the lineup and an integral cog in this lineup. While France slumped with the rest of the lineup in late April, he was experiencing some terrible luck and the lowest exit velocities in his five-year career (86%). However, the last homestand saw him start pulling out of a .225-hole with his typical approach, peppering everything up the middle and to the right field.
Now, the all-star first baseman is up in all his traditional categories (.273/.357/.380), but two advanced analytics suggest his current 11-game hit streak isn’t an anomaly. Those two data points are the spray chart and launch angle. When France clicks, he uses the entire field, shooting line drives from line to line. In addition, the batted ball numbers suggest he is back on track toward his all-star season (2022).
The launch angle is also trending up (13.4) from last season’s approach (10.1). This change in France’s swing could result in more extra-base hits in the summer months (when the ball tends to carry). He currently leads the team in doubles with 10, when he had 27 last season. He’s emphasized returning to his roots while tweaking some things mechanically by adding loft. It could be an interesting next few months for France, and if his current eleven-game hit streak is a sign of things to come, I’m all in!