The Tampa Bay Rays’ roster will soon feature a young phenom in the infield. The team is expected to promote shortstop Wander Franco to the majors ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Franco, now 20 years old, signed a huge international deal with the Rays in 2017. The pact was reportedly worth $3.825 million and has clearly paid off. The Dominican Republic native is the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball according to the latest rankings from MLB Pipeline.
The switch-hitting star has been dominant through various levels of affiliated ball. Over 39 games in Triple-A this year, he slashed .315/.367/.586 with seven home runs and 35 runs batted in. He also added 12 walks and 25 strikeouts while stealing five bases. In the field this season, Franco owns a .970 fielding percentage between shortstop, second base, and third base. At shortstop alone, he has amassed a .973 clip.
Franco, a switch-hitter who throws with his right hand, has an exceptional swing and tremendous discipline with the bat in his hands. He has already shown the makings of an elite hitter and also boasts the potential for plenty of power from the left side of the plate. Meanwhile, he’s equally dominant in the field. Primarily a shortstop, Franco has solid glovework and a very strong arm. He’s also versatile and has shown that he can play second, third, or shortstop.
The promotion of Franco is clearly an attempt by the Rays to energize a roster that has been in a bit of a slump lately. Tampa Bay held sole possession of first place in the AL East not long ago, but they’re now on a six-game losing streak and fell to second in their division on Sunday. Evidently, the Rays hope that bringing such a transcendent prospect to the majors can help them turn things around as the first half of the MLB season winds down.