Putting together the Rays All-Time 25th Anniversary squad

Evan Longoria, 3, with Carl Crawford, 13, following the 2008 ALDS.
Evan Longoria, 3, with Carl Crawford, 13, following the 2008 ALDS. / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
7 of 22

Shortstop: No. 5, Wander Franco

Wander Franco
Wander Franco, 2022. / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

This feels weird to write down for a greatest Rays team of all-time: a sophomore shortstop that's dealt with injuries in the first two seasons feels like inherent recency bias. Be that as it may, when you break down the numbers, there's no better Rays shortstop. The only player in Rays history other than Wander Franco who's hit to a .280 batting average and at least .775 OPS while playing 50 or more games at shortstop is Brendan Harris, who played one season with the Rays.

Despite an injury-plagued 2022, The Wander Years officially began in 2021 when he had one of the best 83-game stretches in team history, as written about here by yours truly. There are five shortstops in the last 90 years to post at least six WAR before their 22nd birthday. Two of them, Hall of Famer Robin Yount and Alex Rodriguez, have won multiple MVPs. The other three are active: Carlos Correa, Fernando Tatis Jr. and 'The Boy Wander.'

The switch-hitting shortstop is currently under the richest deal in Rays history and is set to be Tampa's shortstop of the foreseeable future.