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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: Wander Franco given 80-grade hit tool

Baseball’s top prospect couldn’t receive higher marks for his hitting.

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SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Rays prospect Wander Franco was crowned — yet again — the top prospect in baseball by Baseball America yesterday, and the honor coincided with two separate reports on the short stop’s tools — one from BA, and another from MLB Pipeline.

Both websites gave Franco a grade of 80 for his hit tool.

Baseball America:

Tools: Hit: 80 | Power: 60 | Run: 50 | Fielding: 55 | Arm: 50

2019 Average Exit Velo: 90

Skinny: Franco drew more walks (56) than strikeouts (35) in 114 games, proving once again that the 18-year old’s advanced approach to hitting is well beyond his years.

MLB Pipeline (

Scouting grades: Hit: 80 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 70

If you were to build a hitter from scratch using all of the physical attributes and skills that have come to define great hitters, he’d probably end up looking something like Franco.

That’s a fun coincidence!

Other notes from Baseball America’s big Top-100 drop include the Rays having the most prospects on the list for the second year in a row (they would have repeated with 9 on the list if Liberatore hadn’t been traded), and these gems from BA writers on twitter:

SSs who have been No. 1 by Baseball America (JJ Cooper):

  • Corey Seager (2016)
  • Jurickson Profar (2013)
  • Alex Rodriguez (1995)
  • Chipper Jones (1993)

Rays News

  • Neil has a new podcast out, this time featuring... hey look at that, Wander Franco!

As with all of Neil’s podcasts, you can also hear them embedded at the bottom of every article.

Other Links

  • Old friend alert?
  • Old friend alert.

“Reports that MLB will use ‘robo-umps’ to call balls and strikes in spring training games this year are completely inaccurate. ... Our understanding is that a camera-based tracking system will be running in the background during some spring training games for technology development and training purposes. But any game in which a Major League Baseball umpire is working will have a human calling balls and strikes.”

  • And now your moment of zen: