Ty France has been an underrated fantasy baseball player since joining the Seattle Mariners. Since being named an All-Star in 2022, France's name has become more well known and respected around the league.
This doesn't bode well for Seattle Mariners fans who were hoping to add Ty France to their fantasy roster in the late rounds. So the question becomes, what should you expect from him in 2023?
What fantasy baseball managers should expect from Ty France
Ty France was arguably the second-best hitter in the Mariners lineup last year behind Julio Rodriguez. Some would argue Cal Raleigh or Mitch Haniger, but Ty is who I would want at the plate in a game-winning situation.
Last season, he posted a .274 average and smacked 20 home runs. In 2021, he hit .291 and hit 18 home runs. The 28-year-old has had two full seasons with the Mariners and hasn't disappointed.
The crazier part of his 2022 numbers is that he was dealing with nagging injuries throughout the season. Chris O'Day talked about Ty France's struggles when dealing with injuries and these are his approximations for 2021 and 2022 combined:
There is a massive gap in performance when the Mariners first baseman is playing through an injury, a wrist injury for example. However, Ty France hasn't had to deal with major injuries which is a good sign. The hope is that the California native will fully recover this offseason and remain healthy throughout the season.
If he can do just that, you're looking at a top 10 offensive first baseman. The MLB Network Shredder had him ranked as the 7th best first baseman.
Draft strategy for Ty France
As far as draft strategy, Ty France is one of those players that would have a far bigger impact in a categories league. He will help you win batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage on a weekly basis but lacks in other areas where you'd want a typical power-hitting first baseman. So if you are in a categories league, Ty France is easily a top 10 first baseman to be drafted in your league.
If you participate in a points league, the likes of Anthony Rizzo and Ryan Mountcastle might be better. Fantasy Pros has Ty France ranked as the 15th-best first baseman, while ESPN ranks him as the 10th-best. I'd like to rank France higher, but in a points league, these seem pretty accurate.
Even though I told you that his value might be lower in a points league, we can't downplay the fact that the Mariners offense will be better in 2023. It's the same idea as prioritizing running backs that play on a good team because they would have larger opportunities to run the ball.
France now has Teoscar Hernandez hitting behind him, a solid veteran in Kolten Wong to get on base, and, hopefully, growth from the young core of Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, and Cal Raleigh. So, Ty France should see more opportunities to drive runners in, and get driven in.
As I mentioned earlier, Ty France was one of those players that would fly under the radar in drafts. After being named an All-Star, it won't be as easy to draft him in later rounds. If you like France, go get him. Don't wait too long to pick him up especially if you're in a categories league.
The Mariners infielder is more than capable of being your starting first baseman but I'd rather have him be my back up to a top first baseman like Freddie Freeman.
And if you're having second thoughts about France, remember that he's had two great seasons with the Seattle Mariners and should be at full health when the season comes around.
Other things to note on Ty France
Pay close attention to wear Ty France is used in Spring Training. I highly doubt that he'd play games at second base or third base with how the current lineup shakes out, but you never know with the Mariners coaching staff. Players with multiple position eligibilities go a long way in fantasy baseball and Ty France has a small chance at increasing his eligibilities.