The last time Ty France played for a team in San Diego, he was an average-over-power third baseman at San Diego State. He could be on the verge of heading back, this time as a slugging second baseman with the Major League club.
The Padres prospect has been named the Pacific Coast League Offensive Player of the Week after going 16-for-28 (.571) with seven homers, 11 total extra-base hits and 17 RBIs over seven games with Triple-A El Paso from April 15-21.
Not surprisingly, the seven homers led the entire Minor Leagues during that span, beating out PCL slugger Seth Brown (Las Vegas) with six. France also led MiLB with a 1.500 slugging percentage, 2.136 OPS, 42 total bases, 17 RBIs and 13 runs scored in his big week for the Chihuahuas.
• View the Pitcher of the Week winners »
The 24-year-old infielder hit two homers on April 16, 17 and 21 -- all in El Paso's Southwest University Park. During his two-homer game Sunday, he hit back-to-back shots with No. 11 Padres prospect Josh Naylor on both occasions. Entering the week, France had only one career multi-homer game, when he went deep twice on May 2, 2018 with Double-A San Antonio. Also by comparison, he hit only five homers over 127 games in his entire 2017 season split between Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and San Antonio.
Video: Naylor and France go back-to-back again for El Paso
The right-handed slugger, who was taken in the 34th round of the 2015 Draft, showed some signs of a breakout last season, when he hit .267/.355/.464 with a career-high 22 homers in 137 games between San Antonio and El Paso. His numbers in his first go in the PCL (.287/.382/.532, five homers in 25 games) were especially promising, and the Padres saw enough to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft by adding him to the 40-man roster last November.
That move could pay dividends soon. The Padres have been aggressive in pushing top prospects like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack to the Majors this season. Additionally, second base has been a weak spot with No. 3 prospect Luis Urias struggling to provide much offense. In fact, San Diego second basemen rank 26th in the Majors with a collective 35 wRC+ and 29th with a -0.8 WAR, per FanGraphs. France, traditionally a corner infielder, made the first five starts of his career at second base during his award-winning week with El Paso.
With France not looking like just a one-week wonder -- he leads the PCL with 33 hits, nine homers, a .920 slugging percentage and a 1.431 OPS -- he could be forcing his way back to Southern California in short order.
Below is the complete list of Minor League Offensive Players of the Week for April 15-21:
||.370/.357/.889, 7 G, 10-for-27, 2 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R, 0 BB, 7 K
||.571/.636/1.500, 7 G, 16-for-28, 3 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 13 R, 1 BB, 2 K
||.400/.444/.640, 6 G, 10-for-25, 3 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 SB, 1 CS
||.389/.500/1.056, 5 G, 7-for-18, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 7 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 CS
||.357/.375/1.000, 6 G, 5-for-14, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K
||.524/.600/.905, 6 G, 11-for-21, 5 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB, 0 K, 1 CS
||.391/.440/.957, 6 G, 9-for-23, 4 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 CS
||.478/.556/.913, 6 G, 11-for-23, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K
||.444/.500/1.333, 5 G, 8-for-18, 1 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 7 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 SB
||.440/.462/.800, 6 G, 11-for-25, 6 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB, 3 K