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Wander Franco Newsbeat

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Fangraphs: 2021 Top 100 Prospects

In fact, last year Franco became the first 80 FV prospect of the Future Value era at FanGraphs, the best prospect on the planet, and the best I’ve evaluated during my tenure here at the site. Recall Franco’s statistical track record, which is better than Vladdy’s was at the same age and levels: He has played 175 career games, all at levels well above what is typical for a player his age (he doesn’t turn 20 until March). During those games, he hit .336/.405/.523 with 71 extra-base hits, 20 steals, and more walks than strikeouts. In fact, across two levels in 2019, Low- and Hi-A, Franco not only walked more than he struck out, but walked about twice as much. He has one of the lowest swinging strike rates in the minor leagues at a paltry 4.8%. Franco’s short levers and lightning-quick wrists make it nearly impossible to beat him with velocity, especially on the inner half. He is also especially adept at spoiling well-located back-foot breaking balls, and if you miss with one and catch even part of the zone, he can drop the bat head and yank it out to his pull side. Work away from him and he’ll extend his arms and pepper the opposite field gap with line drives, then use his speed to turn lots of those into doubles. He has impressive raw juice in BP, which he shows off because he makes such consistent contact (his 2019 Futures Game BP was better than Jo Adell‘s and Nolan Jones’ even though those guys have bigger raw power), but it’s possible Franco’s in-game power hasn’t fully actualized yet because he still hits the ball on the ground a lot (48% in 2019, with just a 9 degree average launch angle). And yet he’s still slugging like a physically mature Quad-A hitter. How about the TrackMan data? Franco’s exit velos and hard hit rate (which are on The Board) are both above the big league average, which is ridiculous for a teenager who’s playing against competition four and a half years older than he is.

He might not ever produce huge home run totals without a swing change (someone told me, “If that’s true, then imagine a Michael Brantley-type of hitter who switch-hits and plays shortstop”), but it’d be ridiculous to alter this guy’s swing considering how elite his performance has been, and I think the elite bat-to-ball skills will enable him to hit for more game power than his raw. Franco has been the best player his age on the planet since he was 14 years old. He looks like, and has performed like, a generational talent and annual MVP contender.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 17, 2021 at 04:53 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, wander franco



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