Ben Badler of Baseball America has had the Tampa Bay Rays connected to the top internation free agent prospect Wander Samuel Franco. He is not to be confused with his two older brothers both named Wander Franco, but with differing middle names in the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros systems.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the agreement is for $3,825,000.
Under the new hard cap system the Rays have $5,250,000 to spend. They aren’t connected to any of the remaining higher profile international free agents. Nine of Baseball America’s top 50 IFA prospects don’t have deals with a team. The Rays would likely need to trade for more pool money to make any other significant addition.
Wander Samuel Franco is a switch hitting shortstop that ranks as the number one international free agent prospect by Baseball America, MLB.com, and Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs.com.
Ben Badler posted the following 2:03 clip about Franco.
Thoughts on No. 1 international prospect Wander Franco (Rays) and why top international prospects are so valuable. pic.twitter.com/pObWGx7lsj— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 2, 2017
In a short period of time the Rays have gone out and signed two of the premier talents available to them in Franco and Brendan McKay. It takes time for 16 year old international free agent signings to make an impact, but hopefully he turns into what Willy Adames is today or even more in five or six years.