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The Mariner I am excited to watch this season that you may not know

There is a lot of young talent coming through the Mariners pipeline that provides reason for optimism. I previously mentioned Kelenic in an earlier post, but there is also Julio Rodriguez, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Taylor Trammell and Emerson Hancock just to name a handful, there are several more worthy of mention. Though all the names I just mentioned have not made their big league debuts to date. Ty France is a guy who debuted with the Padres in 2019 but San Diego couldn't find him consistent playing time with the money they have invested in Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer at 3rd base and 1st base, respectively. I could not believe when the Mariners acquired France (along with a major league ready catcher in Luis Torrens, a top 100 prospect in Trammell, and a reliever coming back from Tommy John surgery; Andres Munoz who could be the closer sooner than later) at the trade deadline of the shortened 2020 season for catcher Austin Nola, and reliever Dan Altavilla. Nola had proven he could catch and be a formidable bat for the position at the big league level and had a few years of team control which made him valuable for a Padres team trying to win now. Still, it should be noted Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto downright FLEECED the Padres in this transaction. In the last season France played majority of his season in the minors he was UNCONSCIOUS, in just 296 at bats France belted 27 nukes while putting up a .399 Batting Average, an On-Base Percentage of .477, with a ridiculous Slugging Percentage of .770(!!!); equating to an OPS of 1.247 which is in the company of Barry Bonds during his greatest seasons. Yes; Barry was doing it at the highest level, but I think it does provide context to what France was doing in the minors in 2019. France's offensive numbers in the minors had always been impressive, but his 2019 season showed he was more than ready to jump to the highest level in the sport. France projects to be the future at 3rd base with Kyle Seager entering the final year of his contract. Though there is skepticism he is at the same level defensively as Seager, Ty France can flat out hit from what I have observed and learned from his track record. France is doing what he does best early in Spring Training this year, in 13 at-bats he has 8 hits with 3 homers. Obviously, that is a pace that is unsustainable but it speaks to the fact that the young infielder will find his way into the everyday lineup this season. He has earned it and provides some right-handed thump that the Mariners lineup frankly lacked in 2020. France has the opportunity to be a core piece of the next era of winning baseball in Seattle. (fingers crossed that there is ever going to be another such era)

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