Meet the Tampa Bay Rays Farm System: Wander Franco

Wander Franco
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEP 28: 2017 top international signee Wander Franco of the Rays hustles over to second base during the Florida Instructional League (FIL) game between the FIL Braves and FIL Rays on September 28, 2017, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Rays have never been considered one of the top MLB teams. But things are different down in the minors. The Rays have one of the top-rated farm teams in all of baseball. In the first installment of a dive into the Rays farm system, it is time to look at the number one overall ranked prospect by MLB.com Wander Franco.

Background

The Rays acquired Franco back in 2017 as an international prospect signing. He signed on a minor league deal worth 3.85 Million on July second. Franco is from the Dominican Republic and is only 18 years old.

Franco has baseball in his blood with multiple family members having played in the minors themselves. He has two brothers, also named Wander, who played in the Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, and Houston Astros minor league systems while his Father Wander Sr. played for the Chicago White Sox minor league team in the 1990s.

Playing Career

Franco is a switch hitter who plays shortstop, and he is playing in just his second year in the minors. Despite being so young and only having played for two years, Franco has still put on a show in the minors.

Franco made his professional debut in 2018 playing in the Appalachian Leauge for the Princeton Rays. He would finish the year with a .351 batting average, 11 home runs, and 57 RBI.

This year Franco started in Class A where he batted .318 with six home runs and 29 RBI. He was then called up to Class A-Advantage where he currently resides with the Charlotte Stone Crabs. So far he has a batting average of .359 with three home runs and 16 RBI.

Franco has yet to bat bellow .300 which is outstanding for a player of his caliber. He has even played very well in the field having only committed two errors with a .979 fielding percentage with the Stone Crabs.

Because Franco is only 18 years old it is unlikely we will see him any time soon. However, if he continues to dominate like he is now, he may take a crack at the majors in two or three years.

Overall

Wander Franco is a hitting machine and a solid player in the field. With his career batting average of .329, there is no surprise that he is ranked as the number one prospect. Rays fans can look foward to some great hitting in the near future. For the Rays, they definitely have a star in the making.

The future is bright in Tampa Bay as Wander Franco is just one of a surplus of talented young players in the organization.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images

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