Ty France’s role unclear for Padres in 2020

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The future of Ty France and the San Diego Padres is uncertain. 

After spending three years in the minor leagues, 25-year-old Ty France made his MLB debut on April 26.

Since he was a 34th round pick in the 2015 MLB draft, chances were very low for France to make it to the majors. Yet, the San Diego State product defined all odds by slugging his way through the minors. His slash line of .294/.389/.470 across three years in the minors caught the attention of San Diego Padres.

Unfortunately, Major League Baseball was not as friendly to France.

During his first MLB stint, France began by coming off the bench. He earned a starting role following an injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. In his first 34 games, France started 24 times, all of which came at the third base position (while Machado played shortstop). His final game before being sent back down to Triple-A El Paso came on June 5 against the Philadelphia Phillies. In his first tenure with the Padres, France recorded a slash line of .235/.290/.357 to go along with two home runs and 10 RBIs. He also struck out 25 times, compared to only four walks. Fielding wise, he only made two errors in 55 chances. Not a terrible showing for a rookie.

The infielder was recalled on August 16, once again following an injury to Fernado Tatis Jr. Ty France remained on the roster for the rest of the season and played second base along with third base for the Padres. Over the next month and a half, the infielder raised his 2019 OBP to .294 and his SLG% to .402. He also hit five home runs and tallied 14 RBIs. His average, however, fell slightly to .234 during the span. In the field, France made zero errors in his second stint with the Padres showcasing a solid glove.

France’s role as a San Diego Padre in 2020 remains up in the air.

Manny Machado occupies his primary position of third base. Barring an injury, Machado should play 155+ games, thus limiting France’s playing time at his natural spot. The only other area that France played in 2019, for the Padres, is the keystone position. The problem for France is that there are two second basemen in front of him on the roster. Greg Garcia and Jurickson Profar have seniority, so France has his work cut out for him to surpass one of the two for playing time. The right-handed hitter can also play first base, and that is an option, but Eric Hosmer is not going anywhere soon.

No matter what position Ty France will be playing in 2020, he will likely be facing left-handed pitching. His .772 OPS against lefties is significantly better than his .662 OPS against right-handed pitchers. Profar had an even stronger OPS against lefties in 2019, recording a .835 OPS for the A’s. France will have to continue his success against left-handed pitchers to outshine Profar and earn some playing time. If not, it is very possible the former SDSU product could begin 2020, where he started the 2019 season- with the El Paso Chihuahuas. Things should become more apparent for Ty France once the team heads to Peoria.

4 thoughts on “Ty France’s role unclear for Padres in 2020

  1. I’d hate to give up too soon on him. How many guys bat 400? He also had a 480 obp and a 1.250 ops in AAA. Yes, inflated, but he was still far ahead of everyone else. There’s got to be something there.

    Also, you alluded to this pattern: “…once again following an injury to Fernado Tatis Jr.” He will likely be needed for several games at 3b (and elsewhere) due to FT’s injuries. And, for what it is worth, he would be an immediate upgrade at 1b, but that, sadly, is not going to happen because the Padres are not going to play their best players.

    1. He’s a cheap platoon option for Hosmer. Like you said, I doubt the Padres would do that. He definitely has potential.

  2. It’s defied all odds, not defined all odds.
    France is either organizational depth, which has value, or he is trade bait. There is no path forward for him with the Padres.

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