The Tampa Bay Rays top prospect will be reporting to Port Charlotte as a part of the 60-man roster. His services will be available for the big-league club this season.
In addition to Franco, top prospects Ronaldo Hernandez and Shane McClanahan will also be reporting as a part of the 60-man roster.
The Rays don’t want Franco to sit dormant for an entire season. He will get work against other major-league talents in the upcoming spring training 2.0 and he will be eligible to be called into service with the Rays during the 60-game regular season.
The modified season has created a frantic set of circumstances around the schedule. Teams will play 60 games in 66 days. Active rosters will be expanded to 30 players to open the season. After two weeks, they will reduce the rosters to 28 players, and finally, the last month of the season will be a normal 26-man roster.
Tampa Bay Rays – Wander Franco
Wander Franco has been awarded the oh-so-rare 80-grade hit tool by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. He is the consensus choice as the top prospect in all of baseball.
Just as a quick refresher on the scouting grades, they run between 20-80 with 50 being major-league average. Scouts believe that Franco is currently an 80.
Franco, who turned 19 on March 1, showed up to Rookie Ball in 2018 at just 17 and proceeded to dominate. In 61 games, Franco posted a triple slash of .351/.418/.587 while walking 27 times and striking out just 19 times.
Last season, Franco played 114 games between the Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods and Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs. In 495 plate appearances, he slashed .327/.398/.487 with 27 doubles, seven triples, nine homers, 53 RBI, and 18 stolen bases.
Now, at just 19-years-old, Franco has an opportunity to potentially make his MLB debut with the Rays. In an unusual season, Franco has a chance to be an unusual player.
Major League Baseball’s next big thing could make his debut as a teenager without ever having played above Class A Advanced. I’m sure it’s more likely that the Rays would like to ensure they are overseeing his workouts and he continues to develop as the star of the future.
There’s no denying Franco is well beyond his years with the bat. What do you think? Should the Rays use Franco this season or would they be rushing him?