TODAY: France was officially called up, with the Astros sending right-hander Ronel Blanco to Triple-A in the corresponding move.
MAY 5: The Astros are calling up right-hander J.P. France, reports Mark Berman of Fox 26. He is expected to start Saturday’s game against the Mariners, per Chandler Rome of The Athletic, which will be his major league debut. He’s on the 40-man roster but will require a corresponding move to get him on the active roster.
Now 28, France was selected by the Astros in the 14th round of the 2018 draft and signed for a $1K bonus. He’s since outperformed that modest draft position with some strong work as a swingman in the minors. In 2021, he split his time between Double-A and Triple-A, throwing 114 innings over 18 starts and seven relief appearances. He posted a 3.79 ERA with a strong 32.2% strikeout rate but a 10.7% walk rate. Last year, he was back in the swing role but exclusively in Triple-A. He made 15 starts and 19 relief appearances, posting a 3.90 ERA in 110 2/3 innings. He struck out 28.3% of batters faced but walked 10.6% of them.
He would have been eligible to be selected in the most recent Rule 5 draft, but the Astros added him to their roster in November to ensure that didn’t happen. Baseball America then put him on their list of top 30 prospects in the organization for the first time, giving him the #21 slot coming into this year. Their report notes that he doesn’t have overpowering stuff but relies on unpredictability, willing to throw any of his five pitches at any time to keep hitters off balance.
He’s been back in Triple-A to start this year, with three starts and a couple relief appearances. The walks are still an issue, coming in at a 14.3% clip so far this year, but he’s also struck out 33.8% of opponents and gotten grounders on 53.8% of balls in play for a 2.33 ERA.
The Astros came into the year with a strong rotation, even while allowing Justin Verlander to depart for the Mets. The on-paper group would have been Lance McCullers Jr., Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Cristian Javier and José Urquidy. Unfortunately, McCullers was shut down in spring with arm soreness and still doesn’t seem close to a return, not having begun a rehab assignment yet. That pushed the top depth starter, Hunter Brown, into the rotation to start the year. More recently, the club saw both Garcia and Urquidy hit the injured list in the past week, further depleting the rotation.
The timelines on those recent injuries are still a little murky but the club will have to proceed for at least a couple weeks with just Valdez, Javier and Brown remaining from their season opening rotation. France will come up and make at least one start to help out. Brandon Bielak is also with the club and threw 75 pitches of long relief on Monday, perhaps allowing him to factor in at some point. Forrest Whitley and Shawn Dubin are also on the 40-man and could be options as well.
Houston’s next great pitching weapon.
So if J.P. France hits Ty France with a pitch will France stay neutral?
He ain’t got the gaul to hit Ty France.
It ain’t that hard to hit Ty. He is legit the savviest guy I’ve ever seen when it comes to crowding the plate and using that big ol elbow pad to his advantage. He’s a really broad, stalky dude and I think that plays into it. He makes crowding the plate look completely natural; as if it’s not really crowding the plate
SODOMOJO, what a dull place Houston must be.
There’s almost no one on this thread actually talking baseball.
Just punsters, so your comment hits as almost a shock.
Back when Zunino was a Mariner I used to holler at him through the TV set,
“All right Mike. Now go up there and get hit. Take one for the team!”
Usually Ty hits better than he has been lately, but maybe he’ll work through it.
Meanwhile, take one for the team TY!
steven st croix
@fred Houston is not boring, the Astros are just winners. We are all enjoying the ride.
Even the commenters here who have nothing better to offer on a great baseball blog than “the lowest form of humor”?
Well, if you say so . . .
Me, I just hope Julio and Ty can start getting some timely hits, or else this great series will be wwasted; a dull business indeed.
Your whities are too tight, Freddy.
They have something better to do than comment on other comments by other commenters, Freddy boy.
Now the Astros can’t sign Zach Britton because they’ll just insult each other.
Yes. History tells us that “France” will always be neutral.
Except in the Revolutionary War, perhaps the most important, in which they played a key role helping us win. Thanks France. (er, Freedom Fries!)
They uh, really did us a solid during the Revolutionary War, helping us beat England and all.
Over a million combat deaths in WWI.
Military deaths in WWII, over 200,000.
Almost 400,000 French lost in atrocities and the death camps.
I see London I see France.
Domingo German says “hi”.
Jonathan India says “hi” and recommends a new deli he’s discovered.
On Sunday, May 14th, Jonathan will stop by the store for a Mum-buy.
Someone needs to make a Geographical All-Star team 😛
Not a chance. These guys are all over the map.
Mark Portugal was an underrated player.
Is J. P. France related to Ty France?
Doesn’t look like it. Ty was born in 1994 in California, JP was born in 1995 in (fittingly) Louisiana. Probably would be mentioned in articles like this one too, particularly as the two’s teams are playing each other currently.
Underpants rhymes with France.
Nice porn star stache!
I love Paris in the springtime….
Not if you’re stuck in Paris, Texas.
Hilton? Sorry. She’s taken.
He’ll probably be an ace soon.
Mark Portugal says “hi”
Nice shades spanky…
Happy 92nd birthday to number 24, the Say Hey Kid!
“Hey Ted! Why did the Houston Texans fire Lovie Smith?”
“I dunno. Why?”
“Because they always pun, Ted!”
>.< (+_+). (*_*) O_o