Wander Franco
18-Year-Old ShortstopSS
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Franco won’t turn 18 until March 1, but already looks the part of a future superstar. A switch-hitting shortstop who may end up at third or second, Franco has the quickest bat in the minors. He made consistent, hard contact throughout his pro debut in the Appy League, finishing top five in ISO (.239), wRC+ (159) and BB/K (1.42) as the league’s youngest hitter. Franco was the clear top prospect in the 2017 July 2 international signing class -- pedigree that topples that of the typical player in that league. But consider this: Vlad Jr. toured the Appy League as a 17-year-old two years ago and tallied a .178 ISO, 122 wRC+ and 0.94 BB/K. Simply put, Franco is a significantly better hitter than the top prospect in baseball was at the same age. The Rays rarely fast track prospects, but Franco should be the exception. His MLB ETA is difficult to peg, as he has yet to make his full-season debut, but he will be ready for big-league pitching before he turns 20. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a contract with the Rays in July of 2017 that includes a $3.83 million signing bonus.
Holding own at Low-A
SSTampa Bay Rays  A
June 11, 2019
Franco is batting .322/.389/.517 with six home runs and a 12-for-18 success rate on stolen-base attempts across 239 plate appearances with Low-A Bowling Green this season.
Franco owns a monstrous 154 wRC+ on the campaign, production that becomes even more meaningful after accounting for the fact that the 18-year-old is not only one of the youngest players in full-season ball, but also younger than all but three players selected in the first round of last week's 2019 first-year player draft. Franco's quick bat from both sides of the plate coupled with his plus speed and plus raw power are some of the more notable tools he offers, but the way he's controlled his at-bats may be the most impressive aspect of his performance in the Midwest League. He maintains a 18:26 K:BB on the season, with his 7.5 percent strikeout rate supporting his reputation as an elite contact hitter. Franco looks well on his way to opening 2020 as the sport's consensus top prospect, especially with Vladimir Guerrero having already graduated from prospect status and star rookies Fernando Tatis and Austin Riley on track to do the same within the next few weeks.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Wander Franco
Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers
8 days ago
Jesse Siegel presents a number of new neophytes, including arguably the best minors prospect in the Rays' Wander Franco.
The Long Game: The End of an Era?
21 days ago
Erik Siegrist takes a step back and considers the long-term implications of the flood of promotions for prospects like Austin Riley that have happened through the first two months of the season.
Farm Futures: Week 1 Takeaways
70 days ago
James Anderson discusses prospects who have caught his eye through the first week, including Cardinals third baseman Nolan Gorman.
Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers
71 days ago
Jesse Siegel kicks off this season's first edition of the Barometer by giving hot takes on the early action for a few prospects, including Detroit High-A hurler Casey Mize.
Farm Futures: Hitter Predictions
92 days ago
James Anderson makes his hitting prospect predictions for 2019, including a surprise winner in a bloodline battle of two shortstop prospects.
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Prior to Franco in 2017, here are the last five consensus top prospects from the July 2 international signing period: Kevin Maitan, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Adrian Rondon, Eloy Jimenez and Franklin Barreto. Rondon looks like a bust and it’s too early to say what Maitan will be. Barreto is a big-league ready top-50 prospect with some upside and some flaws, while Guerrero and Jimenez are easily top-five prospects in the game. Investing in players who have yet to play a professional game, like Franco, is awfully risky, but recent history suggests it’s a risk worth taking if the price is right. Franco is a 5-foot-10 switch-hitting shortstop who turns 17 in March and is expected to eventually move to second base. He was considered the best hitter in this year’s class, with the potential to hit for a high average and offer 20-plus homer pop. The payoff will be at least four years down the road, but the upside is such that Franco should be stashed now in deeper leagues.
More Fantasy News
Heats up at Bowling Green
SSTampa Bay Rays  A
May 1, 2019
Franco's season line is up to .311/.393/.568 with 11 extra-base hits (six doubles, two triples, three home runs) and 10 RBI across 85 plate appearances at Low-A Bowling Green.
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Mixed results early
SSTampa Bay Rays  A
April 16, 2019
Franco is slashing .222/.349/.333 across his first 43 plate appearances with Low-A Bowling Green.
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Joins Hot Rods
SSTampa Bay Rays  A
April 2, 2019
Franco will open the season with Low-A Bowling Green, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports.
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Continues to impress with Princeton
SSTampa Bay Rays  A
August 8, 2018
Franco went 3-for-5 with one home run, two runs, five RBI and a walk in Tuesday's game for the Princeton Rays.
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Wraps up big weekend in Appy League
SSTampa Bay Rays  A
July 16, 2018
Franco appeared in three games for rookie-level Princeton over the weekend, going a collective 7-for-14 with two home runs, nine RBI and four runs.
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