Wander Franco‘s ascension to the majors had been a hot topic for months. He appeared to be ready for the challenge coming out of spring training, but the Tampa Bay Rays sent him to Triple-A to begin the year. Although they traded Willy Adames in May, the Rays called up Taylor Walls instead of giving Franco the opportunity.
But now, his time has come. Franco will debut for the Rays on Tuesday, and when he does, he will become the first major leaguer to be born in 2001.
Wander Franco already accomplishing MLB firsts for Tampa Bay Rays
Franco will be just the third major league player to be born in the 21st century, joining Elvis Luciano and Luis Garcia. While that duo may be able to carve out solid major league careers, neither have the same level of expectations that Franco does.
The consensus top prospect in baseball for the second consecutive season, Franco has done nothing to dispel that perception this season. He has produced a .315/.367/.586 batting line in his 177 Triple-A plate appearances, hitting 11 doubles, six triples, and seven homers while stealing five bases.
Expectations are sky high for the young shortstop. He is considered to be a true five tool prospect, someone who ranks as above average at minimum in every facet of the game. He became the first prospect that Fangraphs rated as having a Future Value of 80, meaning that the expectation is that he will be a superstar, someone considered to be a generational talent.
But that was always at some point in the nebulous future. The Rays were cautious with their top prospect, giving him time at each level of the minors before promoting him to the next level. That future is set to begin on Tuesday, and when it does, Franco will accomplish a major league first by setting foot on the diamond.
Wander Franco is ready to debut for the Tampa Bay Rays. When he does, he will become the first major leaguer born in 2001.