Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. With only 18 years and just two years of being signed as a professional by the Rays, Wander Samuel Franco has become the number one prospect of all baseball, according to the MLB Pipeline list.
When you see the pedigree of the young shortstop, one can think that the Dominican‘s destiny was to be a baseball player. His father played in the minor league and his two brothers, Wander Javier and Wander Alexander, were signed by the Royals and the Astros, respectively. His uncles are nothing more and nothing less than Erick and Willy Aybar, former league greats who once made a name for themselves with the Angels and the Rays.
Now Wander Samuel, after preparing since he was 12 years old at the academy level in his native Dominican Republic, wipes out the first lower league levels with the Tampa Bay organization. Yesterday, one of the first prizes was a call to the Game of the Future Stars.
“It seems very good to me. First time here in the Futures Game, “said Franco. “Pretty happy, and more than my family is here.”
Known for a dish discipline quite rare for a player his age, Franco came to Progressive Field with a combined .332 average batting line, .403 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .534 in 2019. between Class-A Bowling Green and Class-A Advanced Charlotte. In eight games of this last level, he started with .448 / .500 / .759, in the three categories, in 29 turns.
In 504 turns as a professional, he struck out only 39 times, with 62 walks.
“To swing, to have contact with the ball only,” Franco said with a smile when asked to explain how he has been able to dominate both the strike zone in his young career. Franco has expressed that his goal is to finish 2019 in Double-A.