Could Ty France carve out significant playing time at second base with the San Diego Padres in 2020? Here’s what he needs to do to be an everyday player.
Selected in the 34th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, San Diego Padres‘ utility man Ty France has yet to see a substantial amount of playing time at the big league level. He spent the majority of the 2019 season at Triple-A El Paso.
There, France posted a .399/.477/.770 line with 27 home runs and 89 RBI in 76 games. He played all over the infield when called up, logging the most time at third base. However, with a wide-open competition at second base, there’s a sizeable opportunity for France to garner regular playing time.
Statcast Batting Statistics
France connected with the barrel of the bat at a 5.9 percent clip in 2019. Balls left his bat at an average exit velocity of 88.9 MPH and a launch angle of 15.1 degrees. Per Statcast, France registered a 41.9 percent hard-hit rate.
Oddly enough, he hit for a better average off breaking balls and offspeed pitches, with a .254 and .250 average, respectively. He struggled with fastballs, to the tune of a .221 average and a 24.0 percent whiff rate.
Batted Ball Statistics
Throughout the minors, France has typically been a pull hitter with nearly 45.0 percent of balls in play hit the left side of the field. He followed suit during his time at the big-league level with 44.9 percent to left, 34.6 percent to center, and 20.6 percent to right field.
France popped up a lot of baseballs in 2019, 14.0 percent of balls put in play to be exact. Of all balls put in play, 20.6 percent were line drives, 42.6 percent were groundballs, and 36.8 percent were flyballs. To no one’s surprise, his 14.0 percent home runs to flyballs ratio is relatively low, and that’s because he popped up it so often.
Ty France is likely never going to be a stolen base threat. He attempted just two last year and was thrown out both times. Once on base though, he’s generally a smart base runner, guilty of only one out on base.
As noted, France plays all over the infield. But while he saw the most time at third base in 2019, he logged a .970 fielding percentage at the position. Second base is likely where France will be able to see the most time, and he recorded a perfect fielding percentage in 21 games last year.
Fangraphs pegged France for a huge season before the shutdown – .255/.330/.426 line with 19 home runs and 72 RBI – which implies that he will play a lot. However, the 25-year-old needs to improve his production off fastballs.
If his averages remain approximately the same on offspeed and breaking balls, good things will happen for France, who could potentially unseat Jurickson Profar at second base.