I’ll just leave this here: https://t.co/3LboM5XCyL— jordan (@astrosjordan)June 21, 2014
The Astros didn’t make a huge splash in last year’s International Free Agent period, but Wander Franco is one of the names I remember reading about.
I remember reading about him for two reasons:
- Ben Badler wrote about him, and Ben Balder’s awesome.
- His brother is also named Wander Franco, which I also found awesome, and amusing.
11 months later, Franco looks like someone I might want to keep my eye on.
Dominican Summer League stats don’t mean much, especially when a six-game sample size is involved. BUT how can you not notice Franco’s insane start to the season.
Through six games, he’s slashing .400/.655/.800, with an ISO of .400 and BB percentage of 44.8%, to compliment his minuscule 3.4 K%.
The 17-year-old Aybar (Erick and Willy) nephew stands 6’1”, 190. All the scouting reports (basically one) I could get my hands on indicate he doesn’t have standout tools.
But Oz Ocampo (Astros INTL Director of Scouting) likes him, and he’s the guy who scouted and signed him. Here’s what he said about Franco:
“Our scouts have been following Wander since he was 13 years old. [He] comes from a baseball family, and has an advanced feel for the game. His best tool is his bat. Offensively, Wander is one of the most advanced hitters in this year’s July 2nd class. He is a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter with a selectively aggressive approach and above-average pitch recognition for his age.”
“Defensively, Wander has plus instincts at shortstop, showing smooth hands, solid footwork, a strong arm, and a very good internal clock. We project him to play shortstop, second, or third base in the future.”
Badler talked about him out-performing his tools in games, and it appears like he’s on his way to doing the same in the 2014 DSL. The way the last eight years have played out, when I see someone with stats like Franco’s in the DSL, and hear the phrases “overacheiver” and “great feel for the game”, I immediately think Altuve.
Franco is a prospect fetus– he’s so far away, he may flame out before I can finish this sentence – but as long as he keeps hitting like he has, he’s worth bookmarking on Fangraphs.