The Tampa Bay Rays appear to have a superstar in the making in Wander Franco.
Franco dazzled in his Major League Baseball debut Tuesday night at Tropicana Field. The 20-year-old’s first big league hit was a game-tying, three-run home run in the fifth inning of the Rays’ series opener against the Boston Red Sox, and he added a blistering double in the seventh. Franco also flashed the leather, highlighted by his inning-ending, unassisted double play in the top half of the eighth.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been around MLB for some time, and he’d never seen a reception for a rookie at the Trop like the one Franco received.
“What a good player he is, by the way,” Cora told reporters after the Red Sox’s 9-5 win, per MassLive. “The way he controls the at-bat, for how young he is. This building behind him, I’ve never seen anything like that in this building. For him to slow down the game, they’ve got a special one.”
Cora added: “Obviously, we want to get him out and not have a great week against us. But as far as the baseball world, it’s a big day. The No. 1 prospect in baseball, he’s making his debut. He’s hitting second, playing third in a series that people are paying attention. The future is bright for this kid.”
The Red Sox will try to keep Franco at bay Wednesday night when they play the middle contest of their three-game series against the Rays. NESN’s complete coverage of the American League East showdown begins at 6 p.m. ET.