2021 MLB playoffs: Rays’ roster will churn after early exit, but Wander Franco proved he’s a sure thing

The Tampa Bay Rays have been eradicated from the postseason on Monday night time, shedding their best-of-five American League Division Collection towards the Boston Red Sox in 4 video games. The Rays, the AL’s high seed, will now retreat to St. Petersburg for the winter whereas the Purple Sox advance to the Championship Collection for a forthcoming date with both the Houston Astros or the Chicago White Sox

The Rays, as traditional, are in for a winter of redesign. One entrance workplace member with one other group joked to CBS Sports activities earlier this summer time that the one query about ace Tyler Glasnow’s future with Tampa Bay is whether or not or not he is traded earlier than the non-tender deadline. The Rays may use this offseason to maneuver different established core items whose salaries not mesh with their strict self-imposed monetary limitations, reminiscent of outfielders Kevin Kiermaier and Austin Meadows or second baseman Brandon Lowe, who once more struggled mightily throughout the postseason. 

Regardless of the Rays do that winter, whoever they ship packing, there’s one participant who is definite to be on the roster come the beginning of subsequent season: phenom infielder Wander Franco, who did every thing in his energy to maintain Tampa Bay afloat within the ALDS. Franco had seven hits in 19 ALDS at-bats (.368 common), and 4 of these hits went for additional bases (two doubles, two residence runs).

Franco, who cannot legally drink till subsequent March, arrived within the majors in June with absurd expectations. He was the No. 1 prospect in baseball nicely earlier than the pandemic worn out a full minor-league season, and he was the No. 1 prospect in baseball when minor-league baseball returned in Might. Franco has been such a precocious expertise {that a} rival evaluator estimated in 2019, half-jokingly at most, that he was prepared for the majors. He was 19 years outdated and enjoying with Tampa Bay’s Excessive-A affiliate. 

Between the hype and the overexposure, it could’ve been simple for Franco to underwhelm as soon as he reached the Present. He did not. As a substitute, Franco hit .288/.347/.463 (129 OPS+) with seven residence runs in 70 video games. At one level, he reached base in an unimaginable 43 consecutive video games. That streak was fueled partly by his preternatural capability to make contact. His 84 p.c contact charge ranked within the 92nd percentile amongst batters with not less than 300 journeys to the plate this season.

Listed below are a number of different tidbits that spotlight Franco’s bat-to-ball abilities:

  • He struck out two or extra occasions in seven of his 70 video games. 5 of these occurred inside his first 20 video games within the majors. None of them occurred after his thirty first sport. In different phrases, he was at his stingiest to strike out as soon as the league would’ve had sufficient time to formulate gameplans towards him.
  • He had 4 completely different stretches the place he went not less than 4 video games with out placing out, together with one the place he went 9 video games between Ks. All of these video games — 22 mixed — got here no sooner than Aug. 14.
  • To piggyback off that final tidbit, he performed in 30 common season video games from Aug. 15 onward. Throughout that span, he hit .355/.409/.545 with practically 9 occasions as many hits (43) as strikeouts (5). Franco had twice as many walks as strikeouts in addition to 3 times as many extra-base hits as strikeouts.

When Franco was promoted to the majors, we in contrast him to Cleveland Guardians third baseman José Ramírez. Test this out: Franco hit .288/.347/.463. Ramírez’s profession line is .278/.354/.501. It isn’t apple for apple, however Franco is firstly of his big-league voyage; Ramírez is a three-time All-Star and Silver Slugger.

Discovering nits to select in Franco’s sport is difficult. You possibly can level to his protection, which graded as below-average by Statcast (and he made a throwing error within the eighth inning of ALDS Recreation 4). But that subject would possibly resolve itself, because the Rays are believed to want Taylor Walls at shortstop, maybe forcing Franco to the recent nook as quickly as subsequent spring. The criticism extra more likely to stick issues his lesser efficiency towards right-handed pitching … although even then, these struggles got here in fewer than 200 plate appearances and noticed him make 14 “laborious outs,” per TruMedia’s definition. If half of these had gone for singles, Franco’s line towards righties would’ve improved from .251/.308/.388 to a superbly positive .290/.343/.426.

Even so, let’s keep in mind one thing about Franco: his youth. He is practically 18 months youthful than Henry Davis, the catcher who the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted No. 1 in July. He is solely a little bit greater than a 12 months older than Jordan Lawlar, the prep shortstop the Arizona Diamondbacks took at No. 6. Each these gamers have brilliant futures forward, and so does Franco — his brilliance is not projection and projection alone, nonetheless.

For as unsure because the Rays’ future is — by way of their roster and their stadium and possession conditions — they’ve one definitive to lean on. His identify is Wander Franco, and he is a positive factor.



https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/information/2021-mlb-playoffs-rays-roster-will-churn-after-early-exit-but-wander-franco-proved-hes-a-sure-thing/ | 2021 MLB playoffs: Rays’ roster will churn after early exit, however Wander Franco proved he is a positive factor

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