He went 2-for-4, with two runs scored, three RBI, a walk, and a home run.
Overall, he made an excellent impression.
Here are three takeaways from his unforgettable debut.
3. He Will Hit The Ball Hard With Frequency
Part of the reason scouts think Franco will be a star is his penchant for hitting the ball hard with frequency.
That’s part of the recipe for success in MLB.
If you hit the ball hard and do it often, good things will happen.
Of the four balls in play Franco had in his debut against the Boston Red Sox, three of them traveled at least at 95 mph, the threshold MLB has to qualify contact as ‘hard’.
One of them was a laser to left field for a home run in his first MLB at-bat, no less.
— MLB (@MLB) June 23, 2021
Judging by the first game, it seems like the uber-prospect will have the goods to deliver a strong average and a very solid power output, and that stems from his ability to hit the ball hard.
Of course, not every game will be like the first one: there is a chance he eventually struggles for a bit, just like virtually all major leaguers.
But chances are we are seeing a very special player.
2. His Good Defense Was On Display
Prospect evaluators and scouts around the league think that Franco’s hit tool is by far his best.
However, it’s not like he is a ghost with the glove: he is a very solid fielder.
In fact, he defends the toughest position in the infield, which is shortstop.
However, the Rays had him at third base and he responded with very solid play.
He didn’t commit any fielding or throwing errors, his instincts were good, and he made this play:
Wander Franco's offense🤝Wander Franco's defense
This guy is unreal!!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 23, 2021
That’s not an easy double play to make.
He had to make sure he got the lead runner out by tagging him or forcing him to get out of his running lane, and he did just that while throwing a bullet to first to get the batter out.
Franco’s bat is his most evidently great tool, but that doesn’t mean he is a bad fielder.
To the contrary: he can be a very good fielding shortstop and he has the arm for third base.
1. He Won’t Be Fooled With Frequency
Franco is known for his ability to hit over .300 (he did it at every minor league stop) and his low strikeout total.
During the 39 games he played in Triple-A this year, he struck out in 11.9 percent of his at-bats, which is incredibly good for a 20-year-old playing in the high minors.
Seeing last night’s game, it became evident that Franco will be a very, very tough out.
His swinging strike percentage (SwStr%) was a tiny 4.8 percent, and he only swung at 8.3 percent of the pitches outside of the strike zone.
That strike zone judgment and ability to make contact will take him far in the big leagues if he remains healthy.
He will represent a nightmare for most pitchers because he is rarely fooled by pitches outside of the strike zone, and he will likely punish those inside it.
We will need to see more games and have more data, but so far, Franco looks every bit like the game’s top prospect.