Baseball

Mariners’ Ty France Should Earn AL MVP Votes

Ty France
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Just over a year ago, Mariners Jerry Dipoto made a blockbuster trade. In this trade, the Mariners acquired top prospect Taylor Trammell, a young veteran Ty France, Flamethrowing relief pitcher Andres Munoz, and a young catcher in Luis Torrens in exchange for Austin Nola, Austin Adams, and Dan Altavilla.

Looking back at that trade, it’s clear that it has worked out for both sides. But also that the Mariners won. Ty France emerged as the Mariner’s best player in a full 2021 campaign. He became the Mariners starting first baseman after Evan White went down with an injury. With White returning in the spring, there’s a chance that France returns to second where he didn’t play bad. He finished at second with a .972 fielding percentage.

Why Ty France Deserves Votes:

In a lineup full of youngsters with a few veterans in Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager, and Tom Murphy, France outhit everyone. He finished the season with a .291 batting average, 18 home runs, and 73 RBI’s. He led the Mariners in average, On Base Percentage, and OPS. Without the production of Ty France, the Mariners would not have been as close as they were to the playoffs as they were. France also had the 10th best batting average in the American League.

France was recently named the Mariners Player of the Year by the Baseball Writers of America Seattle chapter.

“Ty certainly is very deserving, and the one thing I’ve talked about often — that gets under the radar — is the defensive job he has done for us,” Servais said. “He has really picked us up at first base when Evan White went down. … The amount of work he put in, the subtle adjustments he put in to get more comfortable over there has really made a difference in our infield defense.

“I have no problem with Ty France getting that award. I think it’s well deserved.”

Who Else Deserves Votes?

There are not many candidates in the American League deserving of votes for MVP. While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will probably win the award, two of his teammates Teoscar Hernandez and Bo Bichette will most likely get some votes, as will Shohei Ohtani and Salvador Perez. Though the latter two’s teams did not do so well. You could throw Aaron Judge and Marcus Semien into consideration, but their averages weren’t very high.

As clear as it is, the Top 2 spots for the award will come down to Vlad and Ohtani. With the latter most likely winning. But there’s room in the top 10 for other names.

Conclusion:

France recently climbed all the way to the top of the leaderboard in WAR, an all-encompassing statistic that takes into account offense, defense, baserunning, and more. By FanGraphs’ estimation, France’s 2.5 WAR ranks ahead of Seager (2.2), Haniger (2.1), and Crawford (1.8), all of whom have been perhaps equally, if not more, valuable to Seattle’s success this season. But none have been more consistent than France.

He led the MLB in many defensive metrics this season (fielding percentage by a first baseman, defensive runs saved, and ultimate zone rating), but he was also consistent at the plate. A .291/.368/.445 slash line with 18 home runs are respectable numbers to be put in the MVP conversation this season. Especially considering besides guys like Vladimir Guererro Jr, Bo Bichette, and Teoscar Hernandez, everyone else who you would think could be in the conversation had really high home run and RBI numbers and a really low batting average or a high batting average with low HR and RBI numbers. Therefore, he may not be your typical MVP but France proved to be consistent at the plate and in the field. He also may not receive first-place votes but should be in the top 10.

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