If the Yankees missed out on baseball’s next wunderkind, they have the international signing rules to blame.
The Yankees were set to sign Wander Franco, one of baseball’s top prospects, out of Latin America for $6 million, ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote in a long feature detailing Franco’s rise. However, that plan was scuttled by the 2016 collective bargaining agreement, which capped international spending and allowed the Rays to sign Franco with the largest bonus in the class.
A shortstop, Franco is just 18, but draws breathtaking comparisons in the story.
“I saw Vladimir Guererro,” Rei Ruiz, Franco’s manager at Single-A Bowling Green said. “He had the same confidence, the same presence. But I think Wander is better.”
Franco is currently slashing .322/.389/.517 in the Midwest League, and his approach at the plate seems to be at a Major League level.
“He’s human, but sometimes it’s tough to tell,” Mitch Lukevics, the Rays farm director, told ESPN.
That level of belief is expressed widely — even when Franco was 10, a baseball academy for teens in the Dominican Republic reportedly wanted to take him.
“I’ve got the tools to be a superstar,” Franco said. “I want to be in the Hall of Fame.”
If he gets there, the Yankees will be cursing their luck.
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