Can we get a healthy season from Ty France, please? I don't ask for a lot, but that's something I truly want to see. The guy can straight rake, but he needs to have a healthy and functioning wrist to be able to do so.
Part of the approach for Ty France is to hold aggressive ownership of the plate. Trying to control the space up there at home plate and influence where the pitcher puts the ball. The downside of that is that he's right on top of the plate, and get gets hit a lot.
How often, you ask? Well, it's enough that he is actually second in baseball over the last two seasons in HBP, and is quickly climbing the Mariners all-time leaderboard for HBP at an alarming rate.
Yeah, that's way too many HBP for the amount of plate appearances that he has. You extrapolate that out so that France has the same amount of PA as Kyle Seager, and you would end up with 229 HBP. That would be more than Edgar, Seager, and Valle combined!
The HBP issue started to rear its head in 2021. Check out these numbers that show how he did at the plate with a healthy wrist vs how he did after getting hurt. Also, this is another reason to despise HOU, since they were the culprits both times.
Healthy Ty France
Hurt Ty France
This is a huge part as to why I've constantly been in Ty France's corner. I believe that a healthy Ty France can win the batting title, and it doesn't seem like a stretch. 867 AB over two seasons is a pretty big sample size. There is consistency there as well. Look at the three healthy stretches in the table. .310, .309, and .309 were his three batting averages. When he is healthy, he hits about .310. The last two AL batting title winners were .319 and .316.
You can also see the change in approach when he's hurt. The HBP rate drops from 4.84% to 2.35%. It seems like a mix of wanting to protect an injured wrist by being less aggressive and moving off the plate. Maybe it's always going to be a part of his game, but if he can back up an inch, maybe we see it save his wrist from the constant attack of inside pitches.
So, what do I think we see from Ty France this year? Let's go with two sets of numbers. The first is a healthy Ty France, and the second is what we've seen in the past where France gets hit too often and ends up being hurt for a bit. This has a bit more information in it, so make sure to scroll if you can't see it all in one glimpse.
Healthy Ty France
Injured Ty France
I really want to lean toward a healthy Ty France for 2023. I really do. It worries me though. He gets hit so much, that it seems all too likely that it's going to affect him at some point.
Instead... Good Vibes Only. I think we see a healthy Ty France this season. He finishes 4th in the Batting Title race, stays healthy for 95% of the year, and leads the way as a massive part of the Mariners offense in 2023.