Numbers Don't Lie: Wander Franco Will Breakout Soon

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Coming off the largest extension in team history, the Tampa Bay Rays superstar shortstop Wander Franco has gotten off to a good, but not great start to the 2022 season.

After posting an .810 OPS in his rookie season and proving why he had one of the highest graded hit tools in recent memory, Franco has dropped of slightly from his debut season, rather than building upon that success. So far in 2022, Franco is slashing .263/.293/.421 with an OPS+ of 115. These are good numbers, especially for a second year player where pitchers now have a scouting report on him, but not the numbers many thought he would put up in his second season.

Unfortunately for Franco and the Rays, he has been struggling quite a bit as of late despite the overall good numbers. Checkout these numbers from the last 30 days.

Some may point to the large contract and say it was too early to give it to him, while others may believe slight regression was to be expected, but looking at Baseball Savant and their advanced metrics, Wander Franco has some promising underlying stats that show his return to stardom soon.

Many expect Wander to hit for a good amount of power over the course of his career, but the bread and butter of his game is his elite bat to ball skills and extremely low strikeout rate, but proving to be top tier talents still. Franco ranks in the 90th percentile with an xBA of .305, 42 points higher than his current average, and ranks in the 95th percentile in K%. His xSLG also ranks 45 points higher than his current slugging percentage, showing a bit of unluck and fortune change on the way.

There are a few Statcast numbers to watch though for the Rays star. Although his spray chart shows a well rounded hitter, Franco's hard hit and barrel percentage both rank pretty low in baseball. On one hand, turning these numbers around would prove to make the shortstop even more successful. On the other hand, if these numbers do not change, there will be a bit of a cap to how far Franco can go into superstardom.

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It would be safe to assume based on his meteoric rise and pedigree that Franco would return to form sooner than later, but it is encouraging and reassuring to see the Tampa Bay shortstop's underlying metrics look so promising. Expect great production from Franco in the near future.