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J.P. France Gets the Call

J.P. France earns a promotion to the Houston Astros.

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros Photo Day Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a call that all minor league players dream of someday getting.

Although the roster move has technically not happened yet, J.P. France is getting a promotion from the Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys to the Houston Astros.

A product of Tulane and Mississippi State, France was a 14th-round choice of the Astros in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft. In four collegiate seasons he earned an 18-17 record and a 3.95 ERA while striking out 241 in 266 13 innings.

Although France is not listed on Houston’s top 30 prospects on the MLB Pipeline, he’s steadily risen through their minor league ranks. Now 28-years-old, he’s been toiling away at the Triple-A level for three seasons now, and has an aggregate 11-6 record and a 3.64 ERA for Sugar Land. He’s also seen a significant boost in his strikeout numbers in relation to his college days, whiffing 269 in 210 13 innings for an 11.5 K/9 rate.

France’s achilles heel is his propensity to issue too many bases-on-balls, 4.3 per nine innings. That results in a still-pretty-good 2.69 K/BB, but also contributes to a less-than-elite 1.307 WHIP.

Since beginning the 2023 campaign with Sugar Land, France has been producing better results than in seasons’ past. In 19 13 innings he has accumulated 26 strikeouts while giving up only nine hits and 11 walks. That’s a 1.034 WHIP rate a lot more in line with what we are hoping to see when he gets his start against the Mariners on Saturday night.

France’s promotion is going to have to be accompanied by a corresponding roster move to make room on Houston’s 26-man roster. Odds-on candidates for the move include Brandon Bielak, Ronel Blanco, and Matt Gage.

France should make his major league debut in tomorrow’s game, making him the 970th player to appear in a game for Houston.