Wander Franco
18-Year-Old ShortstopSS
Tampa Bay Rays A+
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.
Not slowing down at High-A
SSTampa Bay Rays  A+
August 13, 2019
Franco has gone 11-for-41 (.268 average) with a 4:4 BB:K across his last 10 games with High-A Charlotte.
Franco's recent performance represents a relative downturn, which serves as a testament to the 18-year-old's immense talent. Since moving up to High-A a little less than two months ago, Franco has continued to display a highly polished hit tool, striking out just 11 times in 168 plate appearances (6.5 percent). The shortstop should gradually tap into more power as his body matures, but his .333/.405/.486 slash line (161 wRC+) is still good enough to make him a star player in the Florida State League. He's the undisputed No. 1 prospect in baseball, and that seems unlikely to change until he ultimately reaches the majors.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Wander Franco
Regan's Rumblings: Prospect Stashes for Next Year
36 days ago
Dave Regan does a deep dive into prospects to keep an eye on in 2020, including Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco, who stands out with his incredibly advanced plate discipline at such a young age.
Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers
54 days ago
Jesse Siegel concludes his season outlook by presenting his top performers and disappointments.
Farm Futures: Top 15 Hitters Under 23
64 days ago
James Anderson ranks the 15 best hitters under 23 years old, including Atlanta's dynamic young duo of Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies.
Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers
71 days ago
As the summer reaches unbearable temperatures, Jesse Siegel continues to report on the prospects who are heating up and which ones are cooling down.
Farm Futures: Ranking The Farm Systems
81 days ago
James Anderson uses a formula incorporating his top-400 prospect rankings to rank the 30 farm systems. Luis Urias heads up a still powerful collection of prospects on San Diego's farm.
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.
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Gets Futures Game nod
SSTampa Bay Rays  A+
June 29, 2019
Franco, who was promoted to High-A Charlotte last Sunday, was named to the 2019 All-Star Futures Game on Friday, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports.
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Earns promotion to High-A
SSTampa Bay Rays  A+
June 23, 2019
Franco was promoted from Low-A Bowling Green to High-A Charlotte on Sunday, Robert Murray of The Athletic reports.
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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.
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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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