Wander Franco Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 24 (December 13, 1994) | 6' 2" | 170lbs. | Bats: Right Minors: 2b-20
TAM R 2018 61 242 46 85 27 19 10 7 11 57 4 3 .351 .418 .587 10 7 .346 n/a
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Keith Law's prospect of the year:

Prospect of the Year: Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

There were three strong candidates for the Prospect of the Year title this season, but Franco's year stands above the next two players' performances. Franco turned 18 on March 1, hit .318/.390/.506 in the low-A Midwest League for half the season, then hit .339/.408/.464 in the high-A Florida State League for the rest of the season. He was the youngest player at both levels and one of just two teenagers in the FSL; if he'd been a first-round pick this past June, he would have been the fourth-youngest player taken there.

Most impressive about Franco's year is that he walked more often than he struck out at both levels, finishing the year with 56 walks and just 35 strikeouts (a 7.1% strikeout rate); only one player, 22-year-old Nick Madrigal, had a lower strikeout rate among players in full-season leagues. And Franco did all of this as a shortstop.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Sep 11

Hands down the best prospect in baseball right now. From Baseball America's final update this season of the top 100...


ETA: 2020
Preseason rank: 4
Hit: 70 | Power: 70 | Speed: 50 | Defense: 55 | Arm: 55

Baseball’s best prospect hit .311 in April as he adjusted to the cold of a Midwest League April. He only got better from there. Franco moved to the high Class A Florida State League in mid-June and kept right on raking. He's on track to finish with many more walks than strikeouts, all while hitting for a high average as the youngest player in one of the game's most pitcher-friendly leagues. His game is polished beyond what anyone would have the right to expect for a player who won't turn 19 until next March.
Alex Patton Alex
Sep 4

It's been a rough 10 days for Wander.  On August 9, his average slipped all the way down to 313, but he's rebounded the past two days.  He went 2-4 Saturday and 4-6 today.  He's back up to 333/399/482 in high-A.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Aug 11

It's been a while since my last Wander Franco update.  He's settled in nicely in high-A Charlotte.  And, by nicely, he' dominating.  355/429/527 with 3 HR and 7 doubles in 93 AB.  Most importantly he's kept his plate discipline.  15 BB against only 6 Ks.  

Combined over two A ball levels this year he's at 328/401/512 with 9 HR, 23 2B, and 5 3B, 45 BB and only 26 Ks in 326 AB over 89 games.  He has speed, but is not an adept basestealer.  18/30 in the category.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jul 30

2-4 with another walk tonight.  Those two hits were doubles.  His Avg went down to .545 and his OBP went down to .607.  That's right 3/5 is down for him.  But his SLG went up to .955.  OPS is now at 1.562.  He's got 5 walks and 5 extra base hits in 6 games with no Ks.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jul 3

He wasn't done with that HR yesterday.  He hit another tonight.  Went 2/3 with two walks and is now hitting .600 with a 1.734 OPS in A+.  He needs to move up to AA quickly.  

And you thought hitting .350 as a 17 year old in rookie ball was good.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jun 29

Hit a HR yesterday.  The domination of high-A continues.  He's got a 1.500+ OPS.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jun 28

Maybe he's going to force the issue like Juan Soto last year.  3/4 today with 2 RBI and another caught stealing at high-A.  Now batting .714.  It would be at least cool if he could move to AA before the end of the year so he can begin in AAA next year.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jun 27

Made his debut at High-A tonight.  Went 2-3 with a walk and a caught stealing.  Playing with other top prospects Vidal Brujan and Ronaldo Hernandez.  The Rays are stacked.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jun 26

With so many recent graduations from rookie eligibility, Baseball America has a new #1 prospect.

Jo Adell, MacKenzie Gore, Forrest Whitley, Bo Bichette, Brendan Rogers, Royce Lewis Jesus Luzardo, Casey Mize, and Austin Riley round out the top 10.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jun 18