Have you ever wondered about a certain baseball player? Like, have you actually sat down and observed a players ability to hit the ball, field the ball and throw the ball? Well, have you ever watched a 17-year-old get so much recognition that everything he did was just a buzz?
If you said yes, then you know where this is leading. If you said no, then hold on tight.
At just 17, Wander Franco made his professional debut with the Rays organization at the Rookie level with the Princeton Rays. During his time with Princeton, Franco became a household legend within the community.
“He is a lighting rod, full of joy and full of game,” said on Princeton Rays fan last season.
Franco hit 11 homers in his rookie season and drove in 57 while slashing .351/.418/.587. Overall, he had a great campaign with the P-Rays, but, ultimately his best game came on July 14 against the Pulaski Yankees.
On that day, Franco hit for the cycle as he went 5-for-6 with two-homers and a six-RBI performance in Princeton’s 13-1 rout of Pulaski. Not only that, but he extended his hitting streak to 19 games, at that time it was the longest in the 2018 season in the Appalachian League.
Ranked as MLBPipeline.com’s top prospect for the Rays, he comes in ranked as the fifth best shortstop in all of baseball. On top of that, out of the best 100 ranked prospects, Franco comes in right inside the top 15 at 14th overall.
Scouting report from MLBPipeline:
“The Dominican Republic native has impact potential offensively. With his combination of bat speed, strong wrists and feel for manipulating the barrel, Franco knows how to generate hard contact from both sides of the plate, with enough speed to hit atop a lineup and enough power to serve as a middle-of-the-order force. Those qualities should enable Franco to hit for a high average, and with considerable physical development ahead of him, he’s merely scraping the surface of his power potential.”
“Franco also impresses in the field, earning plaudits from evaluators for his hands, range and actions at shortstop, not to mention a high level of confidence that belies his age. Some evaluators do believe he’ll ultimately outgrow the position and shift over to second base, though such a move would do little to detract from his overall upside.”
Franco obviously has more power coming from the left side of the plate, he also has a swing of beauty.
Wander Franco’s swing on his home run in game 1 last night. pic.twitter.com/PaGjBN455F
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) August 23, 2018
Here’s Wander Franco hitting his bomb last night for Princeton pic.twitter.com/mDmphOAhrX
— John T Eshleman (@2080_John) August 23, 2018
— John T Eshleman (@2080_John) August 22, 2018
It just gets better and better.
Spray charts can be found here.
With his ability to play with top talent, Franco could fly through the Rays system and it wouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. It could be possible for Franco to start in High-A Charlotte with the Stone Crabs of the Florida State League, but betting on the safer side, expect to see Franco with the Bowling Green Hot Rods, Class-A of the Midwest League. It could be possible the Rays want to see more development, therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him start with Hudson Valley Renegades, Class-A Short Season of the New York-Penn League.