Get to know Astros prospect J.P. France

February 26th, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Astros added right-handed prospect J.P. France to the 40-man roster in November, protecting him from exposure to the Rule 5 Draft. France leads Houston’s next wave of starting-pitching options after top prospect Hunter Brown, who will likely make the Opening Day rotation.

France, 27, spent last season at Triple-A Sugar Land, going 3-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 34 games (15 starts). He had 136 strikeouts, a .233 opponents' batting average and a 1.36 WHIP. A 14th-round pick in the 2018 Draft, he has a career 3.80 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 94 games (53 starts) in the Minor Leagues. He’s averaged more than 11 strikeouts per nine innings for his career.

France took some time to answer some questions from You have a degree in homeland security from Tulane University. What did that entail?

France: I’ve always been into military and law enforcement stuff. That’s probably what I would have done if I didn’t do baseball. Being an only child, my mom wasn’t too big a fan of that. That was something I was big into and it would be a plan D, E or F if nothing else worked for me. What was the most interesting thing you learned while getting that degree?

France: What was really cool was a lot of the professors I had there were ex-military guys. One did border patrol. One guy worked where the shipping containers would come through with customs and all that. It was really cool to get connections with those guys. One of them ended up being a really big baseball fan. He was an ex-Marine. So you graduated and went to Mississippi State and played one year. How did that come about?

France: I had Tommy John my sophomore year, 2015, so I had an extra year of eligibility. I was kind of weighing options. Mississippi State was interested, Texas, LSU and obviously could have chosen to stay at Tulane also. The assistant coach at Mississippi State actually recruited me while I was at Tulane, and the head coach at the time, also, I’ve known him since I was 9, 10 years old. I was super comfortable there and it was a great experience. I understand your wife, Jessica McCain France, was a reality TV star on MTV’s "The Challenge" and "The Real World." How did you meet?

France: We met in Fayetteville (N.C.) when I was playing there in 2019. She came to the ballfield. But the rest was history. Her mom and dad let me stay at her place a little bit to get out of the apartment, kind of have some time to myself while she was working in Aspen (Colo.) for a time. Had you seen her on TV prior to that?

France: Never watched any MTV stuff, none of that. Her mom was asking, "Hey, do you know she was on 'The Real World' and 'The Challenge?'" I said, "What’s that?" She brings it up and says, "How does it feel when we go in public and I get recognized and you don’t?" I was like, "OK, I’m fine with that!" Have you gone back and watched her since?

France: Her show’s on Netflix right now. I think "The Real World" is. I told her mom I’m not going to go and watch my wife on TV and get ticked off at something, right? What do you do off the field for fun?

France: Once the season ends, all I do is bow hunt. That’s all I do. What do you hunt?

France: Mainly just whitetail [deer]. I had a lease in Mississippi and hunted on Fort Bragg a little bit this past offseason. I go to Kansas every year. Mainly just whitetail, but hopefully … hunt for elk in Colorado in September. Baseball will be going on then, but that’s on the bucket list. How did you get into bow hunting?

France: I actually grew up duck hunting down in Louisiana. It was really good, but the past seven or eight years it’s died down. I wanted to stay hunting but I wasn’t into duck hunting too much [anymore]. I decided to pick up a bow and was self-taught on YouTube. Who has a better mustache, you or Triple-A teammate Scott Schreiber?

France: I gotta say me because I had it first.