I’ve long been a believer in J.P. France. He was mostly a middle reliever for my Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2018 on their magical run to Omaha. Then, the Houston Astros picked him up after he graduated, and I finally had a State player to root for on my favorite MLB team. This season, J.P., has been a godsend to a pitching rotation ravaged with injuries, and I believe it’s time to start the J.P. France rookie of the year campaign.
The Astros rotation has been one of the best in the league once again this season, but it’s not with a familiar cast. Justin Verlander is in New York, Lance McCullers Jr. was battling to get back but the injury bug got him, José Urquidy has barely pitched, and Luis Garcia is gone for the season. Not exactly what you’d like to see as an Astros fan.
Luckily, the Astros have weathered the storm and are just one game out of the AL West with another game to play against the Texas Rangers Wednesday night. During Tuesday night’s game, the Astros had our beloved J.P. France on the mound, and he was on one.
France’s stat line against the Rangers in a pivotal matchup for the Silver Boot bragging rights, and the AL West division, was 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K. It’s not the flashiest stat line you’ll see since we’ve become accustomed to crazy JV and Framber lines, but seven innings with only one run from J.P. is exactly what the doctor ordered.
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Since France has gotten called up, he’s started 14 games with a 6-3 record. A lot of those games were reminiscent of the old JV games where he’d be throwing a gem and the offense just could not put anything on the board in run support. And while France has had some games where he’s truly looked like a rookie, he’s put up an insane 2.87 ERA.
That’s the type of stuff you want to see from a veteran pitcher on this squad, and he’s just casually doing it as a rookie. Sure, there are tons of rookies in the game right now that deserve to be in the rookie of the year conversation, I’m just saying the guy with 1.9 WAR and a stabilizing force in the Astros rotation should be getting some attention. That, and he’s got a wonderful mustache with some cool glasses to go with it.
It’s time to start the J.P. France rookie of the year campaign.