Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Erik Neander said "we want Wander to be in our plans this year" during the team's Fan Fest last weekend, Mari Faiello of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
This is going to be a common topic for the Rays this spring and throughout the season, and the team's brass is not shying away from the notion that the game's top prospect could debut in his age-19 season. He walked almost twice as much as he struck out while slashing .339/.408/.464 at High-A as an 18-year-old, so he could make quick work of Double-A and Triple-A pitching. If Tampa is really serious about fast-tracking him, he could even skip one of those levels on his path to the majors. Given Willy Adames' defensive prowess at shortstop, Franco will likely debut at the keystone.