Tampa Bay Rays star Wander Franco is used to being ahead of his peers.
He was the best prospect in virtually every minor league stop he had, and made his MLB debut at 20 years old in 2021, finishing that season with a .810 OPS.
As it turns out, he is also breaking records at the international level.
An important part of Team Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), Franco stole a base on Monday in his country’s 6-1 win against Nicaragua.
He became the youngest player to steal a base in a WBC in 14 years.
“With his stolen base earlier, at 22 years & 12 days old, Wander Franco became the youngest player with a SB in a WBC game since a 21-year, 314-day old Gerardo Parra on 3/16/09,” Sarah Langs tweeted.
with his stolen base earlier, at 22 years & 12 days old, Wander Franco became the youngest player with a SB in a WBC game since a 21-year, 314-day old Gerardo Parra on 3/16/09
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 13, 2023
Franco had a difficult 2022 season full of injuries that limited him to a 83 games and a .746 OPS.
He had to endure lingering quad, hamstring, and hand issues last year, and they affected his on-field performance.
Now fully healthy and having dedicated his offseason to improve his flexibility and agility, Franco seems hungrier than ever.
He was also among the youngest players in baseball to get a lucrative extension, and is eager to show the Rays and the world that he is worth every penny.
Franco, if fully healthy, is capable of hitting north of .300 with 20 homers and 20 steals any given season.
If he manages to make it to the season in one piece, the Rays can dream about making another run at the World Series.
For now, he is trying to help Dominican Republic get past Pool D in the WBC.NEXT: Randy Arozarena Discusses His Celebratory Pose