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5 Wander Franco SS

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June 2, 2021 01:28 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Another big day at Triple-A
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco went 4-for-5 with a double, three RBI and a run scored Tuesday in Triple-A Durham's 6-5 loss to Norfolk.

After seeing a five-game hit streak come to an end Sunday, Franco got back on track with one of his better all-around efforts of the season. The 20-year-old is now slashing .299/.361/.536 with a 9:11 BB:K through 108 plate appearances, a stat line that suggests he's ready to move up to the next level. Service-time considerations will surely come into play as the Rays weigh when to call up their top prospect, and it doesn't help Franco's case that the organization already has two middle-infield prospects in Taylor Walls and Vidal Brujan who could be ahead of him in line for getting extended looks in the big leagues.

May 22, 2021 11:16 AM
Rays' Wander Franco: Step closer to big-league debut
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco, who's slashing .283/.333/.533 with eight extra-base hits and 10 RBI across 66 plate appearances at Triple-A Durham, is presumably one step closer to a big-league promotion after Willy Adames was traded to the Brewers on Friday.

As those numbers indicate, Franco is more than holding his own in his first exposure to Triple-A arms, and the fact he's only struck out at a 13.6 percent clip further supports the notion he's ready for his next challenge. However, Taylor Walls has posted even better numbers, slashing .327/.468/.490 over 62 plate appearances for Durham, and is the one getting the call to replace Adames on the Rays roster. Franco will continue getting regular reps at Durham for the time being, but Adames' departure represents the removal of one obstacle from his path to the majors.

May 6, 2021 04:04 AM
Rays' Wander Franco: Keeps surging Wednesday
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a solo home run in a win over Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday.

One day after opening the minor-league season with a 3-for-5 night that included a triple and two RBI, Franco launched his first round tripper against Triple-A arms. The 20-year-old's torrid start isn't likely to be fully sustainable, but given Franco's vast talent, it wouldn't be surprising to see him continue thriving consistently until he inevitably forces the organization's hand in terms of a big-league promotion.

May 5, 2021 11:44 AM
Rays' Wander Franco: Impresses in Durham debut
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco went 3-for-5 with a triple, stolen base, two RBI and a run in Triple-A Durham's 7-5 win over Memphis on Tuesday.

Playing above the High-A level for the first time in his career, the 20-year-old uber-prospect certainly didn't look out of place. He was responsible for the game's most pivotal hit, as his seventh-inning infield single plated the go-ahead run. Franco is poised to make his MLB debut at some point in 2021, and he could already represent a notable upgrade from the Rays' incumbent shortstop, Willy Adames, who has posted a .546 OPS through 30 games.

April 29, 2021 02:28 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Opening at Triple-A
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco will open the season with Triple-A Durham, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The 20-year-old phenom has yet to play above High-A and only spent 52 games at that level in 2019, but it's no surprise that the Rays see him as a Triple-A player following a year of development at the team's alternate training site. It would be no surprise if Franco dominates Triple-A pitching, as he has one of the best hit tools for a prospect in recent memory, as evidenced by his .336/.405/.523 slash line and 7.0 percent strikeout rate in 175 career minor-league games. The Rays have yet to offer much clarity on when he's expected to make his big-league debut, but his assignment to the highest level of the minors indicates they don't think he's far off.

March 15, 2021 09:44 AM
Rays' Wander Franco: Sent to MiLB camp
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

The Rays reassigned Franco to their minor-league camp Monday, Neil Solondz of the Rays Radio Network reports.

Tampa Bay's demotion of its top prospect doesn't come as a major surprise, as Franco was always expected to get a little more seasoning in the upper levels of the minors before making his MLB debut at some point later this season. Franco made a positive impression over his seven games with the Rays during the Grapefruit League slate, going 5-for-17 with a home run.

March 3, 2021 05:44 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Crushes homer in spring win
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco went 2-for-3 with a solo home run in Wednesday's Grapefruit League win over the Pirates, with Adam Berry of reporting the round tripper appeared to land on the roof of the Rays' office behind right field at Charlotte Sports Park.

The Rays will do their best to stick to what would seem to be a level-headed approach of giving Franco some more minor-league seasoning for at least part of 2021, but the elite prospect may simply force the team's hand with respect to speeding up the timeline for his majors debut. Franco's second-inning blast off reliever Miguel Yajure easily scaled the boardwalk neighboring the right-field fence before finally making its descent, giving him a very memorable first hit of spring after an 0-for-5 tally over his first pair of Grapefruit League outings. Franco should continue to see plenty of at-bats for the balance of spring training, and although his pedigree keeps any possibility in play, it's likeliest he opens 2021 in the minors, potentially at Triple-A Durham.

February 27, 2021 01:04 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Feels good to begin camp
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco is no longer dealing with the shoulder issue that hindered him in winter ball and feels good to begin spring training, Steve Carney of Sports Radio 620 WDAE reports.

Franco was diagnosed with biceps inflammation and shoulder soreness following an injury while playing winter ball, but he wasn't dealing with any structural damage or long-term issues. The Rays should continue to monitor his status early in spring training to prevent any further issues as he resumes baseball activities, but he should have a fairly normal spring as long as he doesn't encounter any setbacks. The league's top prospect will have his preparedness closely monitored while serving as a non-roster invitee during spring training, but he could be on track to make his major-league debut at some point in 2021.

February 18, 2021 07:20 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Set for heavy spring scrutiny
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Rays general manager Erik Neander says that Franco (biceps), the organization's top prospect, will have every aspect of his physical and mental preparedness closely monitored while he plays out his spring training invite, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The 19-year-old phenom is considered to be relatively close to the big leagues despite his precocious age and the lost 2020 minor-league season. Franco is not only considered the Rays' top prospect by far, but he's been the consensus No. 1 in all of baseball two years running. Winter ball was supposed to help Franco make up for some lost developmental time late in 2020, but he was only able to log five games before shoulder soreness and biceps inflammation led to a shutdown. He's not expected to face any limitations once spring training begins, and Neander notes that Franco's elite pedigree notwithstanding, the shortstop will have "nothing handed to him" and will see his physical, emotional and mental maturity heavily evaluated during his time around the big-league club over the next several weeks. Franco's most recent minor-league stop was High-A Charlotte back in 2019, and given his level of dominance at that level, it wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see him already start the 2021 campaign at Triple-A Durham.

February 1, 2021 05:40 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Invited to big-league camp
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco (biceps) was invited to the Rays' big-league camp Monday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Franco might not be given serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot, as he's yet to play above High-A, but his debut probably isn't too far off. While he's still just 19 years old, his bat is incredibly advanced for his age, as he owns a career .336/.405/.523 slash line with more walks than strikeouts in 175 games as a professional, numbers that would be impressive anywhere, let alone shortstop. Franco suffered a biceps injury in the Dominican Republic over the winter but appears to have escaped without any structural damage.

December 3, 2020 12:52 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: No structural damage
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco was officially diagnosed with biceps inflammation and shoulder soreness, Juan Toribio of reports.

He was examined in St. Petersburg and there was no structural damage or long-term concern. Franco won't play winter ball again this season, but he should be ready to go for spring training. This is still mildly concerning, as inflammation could reoccur or get worse when he resumes baseball activities. Assuming he is healthy, Franco should spend the bulk of spring training in big-league camp and could debut this summer.

November 27, 2020 12:32 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Biceps injury to be evaluated
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco (sore right biceps) has returned to the United States to be evaluated by Rays team doctors, Mark Feinsand of reports. The club is hopeful it is not a serious injury.

The game's top prospect was playing in the Dominican Winter League but had been sidelined for a week due to the injury, so the Rays are bringing him back stateside to evaluate the seriousness of the injury. He hit .350/.435/.500 with a homer and a stolen base through the first five games. If Franco is fully healthy this spring, he could put himself in position for a first-half call-up, but if this injury turns out to be serious, that could delay his arrival in 2021.

November 25, 2020 08:36 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Dealing with arm injury
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco hasn't played in the Dominican Winter League since Friday due to an arm injury, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports.

The 19-year-old was hitting well with a .935 OPS through five games before suffering the injury. The specifics of the issue remain unclear, but the organization is likely exercise plenty of caution with Franco this offseason due to his status as one of the top prospects in baseball.

September 22, 2020 10:08 AM
Rays' Wander Franco: Makes postseason player pool
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco has been named to the Rays' 40-man postseason player pool, Juan Toribio of reports.

Teams in the postseason will be allowed to carry a 40-man pool, even though only 28 players will be eligible for active status at any one time. Franco's inclusion is notable considering his elite prospect status, although it's still more likely that he doesn't see any game action. Nevertheless, Toribio notes Franco could still benefit from being around the team in a playoff environment in anticipation of a big-league roster spot in 2021.

September 20, 2020 09:52 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Callup not in works
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

The Rays aren't expected to have Franco make his big-league debut until 2021, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Tampa Bay is including Franco in its 40-man postseason pool, but barring an injury to Willy Adames, the 19-year-old switch hitter likely won't be making an appearance this fall. Despite not having the opportunity to play in affiliated ball in 2020, Franco remains the top prospect in baseball and will likely retain that title until he reaches the majors.

August 19, 2020 10:48 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Callup in 2020 remains unlikely
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco continues to work out regularly at the Rays' alternate training site in Port Charlotte, but he's unlikely to receive a promotion to the big club at any point in 2020, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The 2020 Super Two deadline has come and gone, but the extra year of service time the Rays have already gained won't be enough to entice the organization to call up its top prospect. Instead, the Rays appear inclined to treat this season as another development one for the 19-year-old phenom, who will at least have the benefit of playing in simulated games against some of the team's top pitching prospects in Port Charlotte. Assuming he stays healthy and continues to pass any tests the organization's braintrust gives him, Franco looks on track to make his MLB debut at some point in early 2021.

June 26, 2020 01:44 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Expected to be in player pool
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco is expected to be part of the Rays' 60-man player pool that will report to the team's summer camp, Juan Toribio of reports.

The prize prospect's expected inclusion means he's expected to report to Port Charlotte, one of the two sites the Rays will use for their summer camp. The 19-year-old will therefore have a chance to continue his development despite the expected absence of a 2020 minor-league season, with the opportunity to play against big-league talent in intrasquad games projected as one of the biggest benefits of the move. That also leaves open the admittedly remote possibility Franco shows enough to earn a spot on the active roster at some point during the 60-game campaign, although the Rays continue to prioritize his continuing education as a player above all else. "We're not going to force anything. We're not going to throw any additional expectations on him," Rays general manager Erik Neander said in February. "We just want to make sure that we do right by him, progress him in all aspects of his development as best as we can, and prepare him for one day being a Major League player."

April 26, 2020 06:48 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Chances for '20 debut mixed
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco's chances of making his big-league debut during the 2020 season will likely be dampened if there is no minor-league season, Juan Toribio of reports.

The elite prospect's chances of seeing big-league action in 2020 even if the season would have unfolded as planned may have been relatively remote, considering he's yet to take an at-bat above the High-A level. Despite the fact Franco is unquestionably on the fast track to the majors, the Rays would ideally like to get him more seasoning, leading Toribio to surmise an outright cancellation of the minor-league season would further depress the odds of the 19-year-old making his debut in a truncated year. However, he adds the disclaimer that the organization's view could change if the Rays find themselves in contention and conclude that Franco -- whose stellar .318/.390/.506 line at Low-A Bowling Green last season qualifies as the least impressive overall of his three professional stops to date -- could significantly improve the team's offensive firepower.

March 25, 2020 12:36 PM
Rays' Wander Franco: Minimal action in spring training
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco hit .286 (2-for-7) with one RBI and and one run over three Grapefruit League games before spring training was suspended.

Franco wasn't slated to see an abundance of exhibition action since he's not likely to log any time in the majors in the coming regular season. However, the organization did want to get its top prospect his first taste of experience against big-league arms after he quickly mastered pitching at three different levels of the minors over the last two seasons. Franco topped out at High-A Charlotte in 2019, so he's likely to start the 2020 campaign at Double-A Montgomery. Jeff Passan of ESPN also reports Franco was set to play for the Dominican Republic team that was going to try and qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics, but that event has now been postponed for at least several months due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

February 29, 2020 11:24 AM
Rays' Wander Franco: Leads off in first spring start
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Franco started and hit leadoff in Friday's Grapefruit League win over the Nationals, going 1-for-4 with a run.

Franco was making his first Grapefruit League start, but he'd made his debut Thursday in a split-squad win over the Tigers when he entered the game as a defensive replacement for Willy Adames and grounded out to the pitcher in his only at-bat. The teenage phenom, who turns 19 on March 1, has rocketed through three minor-league stops over the last two seasons, hitting well over .300 at the Rookie, Low-A and High-A levels. Franco will gain valuable experience in big-league camp this spring, and he could potentially put it to use later this season if his meteoric rise through the ranks continues.

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Minor League Batting Stats
2018ROK-Princeton Rays6124246851071157271943.351.418.587
2019AFA-Charlotte Stone Crab521924065112324261545.339.408.464
2019AFX-Bowling Green Hot Ro6223342741656293020149.318.390.506

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Bani, DR
Tampa Bay Rays

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