The Rays will add uber-prospect Wander Franco to their 60-man player pool, according to Jesse Sanchez and Juan Toribio of MLB.com. He’ll participate in the pre-season ramp up and be eligible to continue training with the team during the season.
As with the Tigers, and surely all other teams, the Rays are considering developmental prerogatives alongside competitive demands in deciding which players will participate in Summer Training and be available as the season gets underway. Franco, the consensus top prospect in baseball, will get invaluable experience to help make up for what’s tracking to be a lost minor-league season.
Just because Franco is in the player pool does not mean he’ll debut in 2020. The preternatural hitter could likely hold his own in the majors already, but he doesn’t even need to be added to the 40-man roster until next winter.
It’s certainly possible — expected, really — that Franco will force his way onto the big league club before the team must grant him MLB status to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. And that could yet occur in the sprint of a campaign we’re about to witness.
The odds of a 2020 debut likely went downhill when the coronavirus intervened, as Franco won’t have the chance to get reps (and put up outlandish offensive numbers) in the upper minors. The 19-year-old has been outstanding at every level thus far — in particular, his unmatched plate discipline jumps off the page — but he has yet to appear above the High-A level.
Franco may yet force the hand of the Tampa Bay brass in training, though it’s likelier that any promotion to the active and 40-man rosters would occur if a need and/or opportunity arises. This short season format could give the Rays a stronger chance of toppling the division-favorite Yankees or at least snatching a Wild Card. While service time will surely weigh in the calculus, the ability to call upon a unique talent may prove compelling.
For now, the key point is that Franco’s foot is in the door. At minimum, he’s on track to polish off his development in 2020. If he doesn’t debut this year, it’s reasonably likely we’ll be holding service time manipulation debates next spring.
This is a perfect time to showcase prospects. We’ve seen plenty of times prospects (Aquino anyone?) come up and absolutely rake for 20-30 games until teams figure them out. That’s half of this season.
They should a modified version of the AFL this summer.
3 MLB teams share one team, each sends 10 prospects, for ten teams total.
Letting elite prospects wither on the vine makes no sense.
Agree. Something like a short season featuring only top prospects would be awesome and vital for development. It would also keep them game ready should a team need to pluck one up to the major league roster for some reason.
The next CBA will attempt to address service time issues we are seeing with these young prospects. Holding a player down in the Minors for the sole purpose gaining another year of arbitration and team control is hurting the game.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
No it’s not. Stop being such a drama queen.
there is no good way to do that without making players get less service time for playing to entice promotions, and the PA isnt going to do that
they could get rid of service time entirely and give teams a specific number of years of control from when they draft/sign a player. so like if you sign a 16 y/o you get 10 years of control, if you draft a 21 y/o you get like 7 or something.
If a player is on the active 26-man roster for more than 50% of the season (82 games+), they should get a full year of service time. This way, teams will have to make the choice on whether or not to add young talent early to help out, or wait until July or August to see what the kids have and lose the benefit of using them earlier in the season. Only having to wait 2-3 weeks to get an extra year of control is ridiculous.
In the NHL if you play 10 games, you burn the first year of your rookie contract. If you play 40, that year counts towards your service time needed to attain unrestricted free agency.
Way more fair than MLB’s where you can play, basically, a whole season sans two weeks and it still doesn’t count as a year.
How about getting the right player profile attached?
I thought the Rays wander Franco was like 18-19
No way, that guy’s picture is hilarious. Look how he wears his hat.
Watched this kid play for Bowling Green last year against W. Michigan. He’s one of those players you can just tell is a star – it is that obvious. I hope this year doesn’t hurt his development because this guy is going to be one great player.