Wander Franco Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 18 (March 1, 2001) | 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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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

Will we ever see Juan Then face Wander. 

van wilhoite LVW

ESPN feature - Passan: How Wander Franco became MLB's next can't-miss kid

Why Wander Franco? Why, of the more than 7,000 players in the minor leagues this season, will his name top the prospect lists that serve as road maps for the game's future?

There is the inborn: the hand-eye coordination; the wiry body that developed into a muscled 5-foot-10, 190 pounds; the genetic jackpot of his father, also named Wander, who was a decent ballplayer, and his mother, Nancy, whose brothers, Erick and Willy Aybar, played a combined 17 major league seasons. Franco has his family to thank.

Then there is environment, the nurture yang to Franco's nature yin. In Baní, the coastal city in the Dominican Republic where he grew up, Franco spent practically every day from the time he was 6 begging to play baseball with his older brothers, Wander Javier Franco and Wander Alexander Franco. They were good enough to sign with major league organizations. Wander Samuel Franco was something different altogether.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed

Leading off BA's Hot Sheet yesterday:

1. Wander Franco, SS, Rays
Team: Low Class A Bowling Green (Midwest)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .474/.500/.947 (9-for-22), 7 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 0 SO, 3 SB

The Scoop: Wander Franco is 18 years old, in low Class A and we may already have run out of superlatives to describe him. Instead, let’s look at some facts.

  • In 108 minor league games, only one pitcher has managed to strike him out more than once (kudos to you, Angels prospect Robinson Pina)
  • He has not struck out swinging since May 20, and he has not struck out at all since May 24, a span of 29 plate appearances
  • Through June 2, Franco is hitting .326 in the Midwest League as an 18-year-old. Through June 2, 2017, when he was in the Midwest League as an 18-year-old, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit … .326.
  • Franco did not swing and miss once during this Hot Sheet period. He has not swung and missed since the third inning on May 26. (JN)
Alex Patton Alex
Jun 4

Only four days ago I commend that he had figured out low-A.  He hasn't slowed down.  In fact, just the opposite.  Now, 326 with a 927 OPS.  He's up to 6 HR, 14 2B, and 11 SB.  Still more BB than K.  22/16 ratio.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jun 3

I suspect he will make the move up to high-A soon.  After today's game he's hitting 318 with an 881 OPS as an 18 year old in low-A.  He has a dozen doubles, 3 triples, and 4 HR with 10 SB in 44 games.  Oh, and 16 Ks against 21 BB.

I know the Rays like to take their time with prospects, but Wander isn't getting enough competition to challenge him at low-A.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
May 30

I think he heard that Vlad is coming up and realized that he's now the highest ceiling player in the minors.  In the last few days since my last report, he has gone 3-3 with 3 doubles, a walk and hit by pitch, 1-2 with HR and two walks, and tonight 3-4 with 2 HR so far.  Intragame he's now up to .333 on the season.  By the break, when Tatis, Vlad, and Eloy have all exhausted their rookie eligibility, I can't see anyone but Franco as the #1 prospect in the minors.  It's worth noting that the defensive scouting believes he will stick at SS.

Morning update: he's now 333/420/621 with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR, 4 SB, and 11 walks against only 7 Ks in 66 AB.  He should be at high-A before the break.  Whether he moves up to an advanced level this year is really dependent on whether the Rays alter their promotion schedule for a true high flier.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Apr 26

He had a rough first week in low-A as a recently turned 18 year old.  There were some thoughts that he could move up quickly like Juan Soto last year.  The conventional wisdom, though, is that the Rays are very deliberate with their prospects.  I would expect him to end the year in AA.

Now that he's shaken off the rust, his ability has started to show.  He's hitting 264/349/396 with 3 steals, 3 doubles, and 2 triples.  More impressively he's got 8 walks against only 7 Ks in 14 games.  

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Apr 21

He'll most likely be Top-10 on all the prospect lists. The helium right now is amazing. If I owned him in any of my Dynasty Leagues, and unfortunately I don't, I'd be selling.

Tim McLeod tlmcleod
Jan 29

Obviously, he struggled at rookie ball.  I mean, I know he's only 17, but c'mon . . . maybe give him a lil' taste of a higher level after he's destroyed the planet for 150 ABs?

Mike Dean TMU2009
Jan 29