Mariners 1B Ty France made changes to swing, added bat speed through offseason work at Driveline

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 16: Ty France #23 of the Seattle Mariners singles in the second inning during the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on Saturday, September 16, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by

Seeing the success teammate J.P. Crawford had working with Driveline Baseball a season ago, Seattle Mariners first baseman Ty France chose to seek the help of the Kent-based baseball development factory this offseason to help fix his swing after a disappointing 2023 season.

France posted the worst numbers of his career outside of his rookie season with the San Diego Padres in 2019. During his first three seasons with the Mariners, France had a combined .284 batting average with an on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) percentage of .795 while playing the second-most games of any Seattle position player over that span. But last season, France's batting average dropped to .250 with an increased strikeout rate and an on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) of just .703.

"Obviously, last year didn’t go the way I wanted, so I thought it was time to try something new," France said on Wednesday. "And I saw how successful J.P. was, how good Driveline worked for him. I figured if I was going to start somewhere, I might as well start there."

France made his way to Driveline in November to begin an offseason of work looking for answers to why his offensive game had taken such a significant step back. An elbow injury in the latter stages of the 2022 season were part of the issue as he made compensations to play around an injury. However, that wasn't the only thing at issue.

"I created a lot of years of bad habits," France said. "Just trying to get as clean as possible and tighten all that up. Throughout the full offseason I think we made a lot of adjustments and a lot of improvements.

"I was just very handsy. I was hitting primarily with just my hands. I wasn’t using the rest of my body properly, so just trying to get all the sequencing together, trying to get my body to fire in the right order so I can create as much power and strength and keep my bat in the zone for as long as possible."

Driveline is one of the leaders in the baseball training industry and has become a trusted resource for dozens of Major Leaguers. They used motion capture technology to assess France's swing mechanics and show where he was losing potential from his movement.

"It was really cool. It’s crazy to see how bad my swing was on a mechanical aspect," France said.

"We spent a lot of time the first time I went up there just trying to clean up as much as possible. They were very good about just sitting me down and showing me ‘alright, this is what you were before. This is what you need to look like.’"

Crawford sought Driveline's help after the 2022 season and saw massive benefits last year. Crawford's batting average jumped back up to .266 last year after falling to .243 two seasons ago, but even more significant was the additional bat speed. With the work on his swing, Crawford added a couple miles per hour of bat speed that helped him hit a career-high 19 home runs last year along with 35 doubles. His .818 OPS was tied with Julio Rodríguez for the best mark on the team last season.

Like Crawford, France also saw an uptick in bat speed this winter with the help of his refined mechanics.

"That was one of the big things we worked on was not only just the sequencing stuff but adding bat speed," France said. "I added probably close to 3.5 miles per hour of bat speed throughout the offseason, so that was another important thing that we wanted to do. Most of it was just by cleaning up my mechanics I was able to add more bat speed. If everything is done correctly, the swing is done properly, my barrel is in the zone a lot longer and it just gives me more room for error."

It remains to be seen whether France can replicate the success on the field that Crawford was able to deliver through his offseason work a season ago. However, it appears as though France is much better positioned to return to his more productive levels once again this year.

"They’ve got a lot of technology, a lot of smart guys over there to help. Very excited to put that into the game," France said.