Wander Franco has performed well in his first 52 plate appearances at Triple-A, posting a .348/.404/.652 slash line that befits his status as baseball’s top prospect. However, it doesn’t appear likely that Franco will get a quick promotion to the big leagues, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Rays aren’t likely to rush a 20-year-old who is only now getting his first taste of the pros beyond the A-ball level, and naturally, some payroll considerations are likely at play — delaying Franco’s debut until at least late June would probably keep him from reaching Super Two status. A pre-career contract extension would address that concern, but Topkin doesn’t see such a deal as very likely.
Beyond just the financial aspects, the Rays don’t want to make a development misstep with a prospect who represents such a major part of their future. “The team wants “to be ’more’ sure a player is ready, and avoiding the confidence crusher of sending him back. Also, they definitely want to avoid putting a young player in a role of being cast as a ’savior’ as Franco might be if the Rays offense still was struggling when he was summoned,” Topkin writes. This doesn’t mean that Tampa Bay wouldn’t turn to its farm system in the event of a sudden need, of course, but Topkin feels that Vidal Brujan or Taylor Walls (notable prospects in their own right) would get the call ahead of Franco since Brujan and Walls are both a few years older, and also already on the 40-man roster.
More from around the AL East…
- The Yankees are hoping that Rougned Odor will be back from the injured list in time to face off with his old Rangers teammates, as per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (via Twitter). New York begins a four-game set against Texas beginning today. Odor was placed on the 10-day IL on May 5 due to a left knee sprain. Though Odor has hit just .164/.271/.361 in pinstripes, the Yankees are in need of middle infield reinforcements due to Tyler Wade’s similarly underwhelming offense and Gleyber Torres’ COVID list absence.
- The Red Sox are expected to activate Enrique Hernandez from the 10-day IL on Tuesday prior to their game with the Blue Jays. Boston made the first move in this direction by optioning infielder Jonathan Arauz to Triple-A today, thus clearing a spot on the active roster. A right hamstring strain sent Hernandez to the injured list on May 7, so the utilityman would miss only the minimum 10 days of action. Christian Arroyo’s IL placement due to a hand contusion was also retroactively dated to May 7, but Alex Speier of the Boston Globe notes (Twitter link) that Arroyo won’t join the Sox for the start of their road trip against the Jays and Phillies this week. Arroyo did begin hitting off a tee yesterday, however, so his return might not be far off. The Red Sox have played with a three-man bench for much of the season, and if they choose to stick with this roster alignment, Michael Chavis would be the odd man out once Arroyo is ready to be reinstated from the IL.