The Padres are a team on the rise and have a lot of talent to say the least. Our next “2020 Fantasy Sleepers” piece is on one Padres player who may not be a big name, but certainly has a lot to offer: infielder Ty France.
2020 Fantasy Sleepers: Ty France
A 34th round pick by the Padres in 2015, France was not expected to be a MLB player by most. The 25-year old worked his way up to AA by the end the 2018 season, but was still not a player on the radar of most people. In fact, he didn’t even crack MLB Pipeline‘s Padres Top 30 Prospect list to end the 2018 season. Last season, though, was a breakthrough season for France, and one where he got his first taste of the Majors.
After putting up a slash line of .418/.495/.873 in April with El Paso (AAA), France received his first promotion to the Majors that month, and made his MLB debut on April 26. France didn’t light it up in his first stint with the Padres, though, posting a .235 AVG and a .647 OPS. He was sent back down to AAA in June, but France received a second call-up in August, coinciding with the season-ending injury to Fernando Tatis Jr.
France’s second run with the Padres was a bit better, hitting 5 HR’s and 12 RBI’s during the month of September, while posting a .907 OPS. Those numbers are not too bad, but what was more impressive was his exit velocities. During the final month of 2019, the average exit velocity of France’s balls in play was 90.46 MPH, almost three MPH more than the MLB average during that month. If that figure tells us anything, it’s that France was making harder contact more consistently during September. But, is this a sign that he will break out in 2020?
What to Expect from France in 2020?
While France had a nice end to 2019, there are two main problems with him entering 2020. One is playing time, as France is a natural third baseman but won’t get much playing time there while Manny Machado is in San Diego. France played 21 games at second last season, and figured to get a good amount of playing time there in 2020 once last season ended. But the Padres acquired infielder Jurickson Profar, someone GM A.J. Prellar became familiar with during his time with the Rangers, from the Athletics this offseason, making it tough to predict how much playing time France will get.
Another issue, albeit a smaller one, is that there’s not much of a track record of success at the MLB level behind France. The 25-year old had a nice final month, but did struggle at times throughout the season. However, that may not mean much, especially if the France we saw in the final month is the one we see more of in 2020. Nevertheless, those two factors make France a very tough projection.
Should you pick him up?
Ty France is someone to keep on your radar for sure, as the talent is certainly there. And because of Tatis Jr. and Machado on the left side of the infield, there’s a great chance France is shuttled throughout the field, making him eligible for more positions. The California native should be a target late in drafts, but be cautious with him. Because of the crowded infield the Padres have, it’s tough to gauge how much time he gets this upcoming season. In addition, France’s low walk rates in 2019 (almost four points below MLB average) and struggles against fastballs (.221 AVG in 2019) are other points of concern. Because of that, he’s someone to target very late in fantasy drafts as a low-risk, high-reward grab.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated from its original version, as the previous one contained inaccurate information regarding exit velocities.