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Wander Franco’s debut season has already been historic

Franco is accomplishing things that most Hall of Famers weren’t able to do

Chicago White Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Wander Franco’s debut season has been historic. At just 20 years old, he is accomplishing things that are putting him on the same record slabs at Mickey Mantle and has surpassed others such as Ken Griffey Jr, Ted Williams, and Henry Aaron.

Heading into play on Tuesday night, Franco thus far has hit .272/.333/.441 with 6 HR over 234 plate appearances. He has registered a 116 wRC+ and accrued 1.6 fWAR over 53 games played. His numbers appear even better once you learn that he endured a hefty slump over his first month in the big leagues. He has been able to overcome an absolutely dreadful start — though he did collect a home run in his big league debut — to becoming one the front runners for the American League Rookie of the Year award.

One of the things that has led to Franco’s turnaround this year has been his impeccable ability to get on base. Over his first 53 games as a big leaguer, Franco has reached base in 48 of them (91%). Compared to players that were under 21 years of age, Franco is one of just two players to reach in that many games over his first 53 games; the only other player to do so was Willie Mays.

He has reached base safely in each of his last 30 games played, hitting .314/.382/.508 over that timeframe and his current streak ties him with Carlos Pena for the 7th longest on-base streak in franchise history.

The longest on-base streak in team history is currently held by Tommy Pham, who went on a torrid stretch of 48 games during the last two months of the 2018 season and then the opening days of the following campaign in 2019. Franco will have to continue his rapid pace over the next three weeks in order to reach and then surpass Pham’s team record.

As for the longest on-base streaks for players 20 years of age or younger, Franco is meticulously working his way up the list as he continues to get on base, day in and day out. He just surpassed marks set by Mike Trout and Mel Ott and is now currently tied with Mel Ott for the 6th longest on-base streak by a player that has yet to reach 21 years of age. The longest streak by a player under 21 is held by Frank Robinson, who reached in 46 straight games for the Cincinnati Reds during the Summer of 1956.

Longest On-Base Streaks in Franchise History:

  1. Tommy Pham - 48 games - 8/21/18 through 4/16/19
  2. Johnny Damon - 39 games - 5/3/11 through 6/14/11
  3. Ben Grieve - 37 games - 4/18/01 through 5/30/01
  4. Evan Longoria - 34 games - 9/19/12 through 4/23/13
  5. Evan Longoria - 32 games - 5/10/10 through 6/15/10
  6. Ben Zobrist - 31 games - 9/13/09 through 4/16/10
  7. Wander Franco - 30 games - 7/25/21 through 8/29/21

Longest On-Base Streaks by Players Under 21 Years Old:

  1. Frank Robinson - 46 games - 5/20/56 through 7/7/56
  2. Mickey Mantle - 36 games - 9/5/51 through 5/4/52
  3. Arky Vaughan - 33 games - 7/12/32 through 8/10/32
  4. Mel Ott - 33 games - 8/24/29 through 10/06/29
  5. Mickey Mantle - 32 games - 8/22/52 through 9/28/52
  6. Wander Franco - 30 games - 7/25/21 through 8/30/21

While it remains to be seen how Franco will fare among those in Rookie of the Year consideration, he’s certainly making an impressive and historic splash in his debut season.