‘El Patron’ was barely 20 when his life changed. As someone who was already considered the best prospect in baseball at the time, at Bowling Green Ballpark, walked into a suite with a smile on his face. It was then that Wander Franco earned his moniker, meaning ‘The Boss’. At the young age of 18, he drew comparisons to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. So much so that Franco’s manager in Bowling Green said, “I saw Vladimir Guerrero. He had the same confidence, the same presence. But I think Wander is better.” But something changed. Perhaps irreversibly.

Distressing legal issues back in his home country, the Dominican Republic, has reportedly grown grave. The man who appeared to have a blessed and bright MLB career ahead of him is now in doubt whether he would ever set foot in a ballpark again. Has the phenomenal slugger played his last major league game with the Tampa Bay Rays? 

The Next Thing: Know About the Rise of Wander Franco in the MLB


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It is interesting to dive deeper into the story of the young boy who once said, “I want to be in the Hall of Fame“. At the age of 16, he penned a deal with the Rays for $3.825 million. In 2019, Jeff Passan of ESPN described Franco as “a switch-hitting, home-run-thumping, smooth-fielding, mad-dashing shortstop”. It was stunning to see a teenager be the alpha in a league where the average age of players was 21 years old. 

He left a lasting impression in the minor leagues. The imprint was strong enough for Mitch Lukevics, the Rays’ farm director, to say, “He’s human, but sometimes it’s tough to tell”. The  5-foot-10, 190 pounds who hailed from a typical baseball family was nothing short of a marvel who showed promise of a bring future. He knew it. He knew it all along. 

As a 17-year-old, he displayed a sense of self assuredness. Looking at his career numbers, it is stunning to see that he stands at a WAR of 11.6, 30 HR, 130 RBI and 795 OPS. He was confident and the same reflected in words, “I’ve got the tools to be a superstar”.

A Successful Adventure: A Look Into His Journey So Far 

Wander Franco, the rising star shortstop, has seen his exponential rise in the world of baseball. His captivating talent, since him being an international prospect debut in 2017, propelled him to the All-Star status in 2023. His journey began in 2017 and he went on to make his MLB debut in 2018 with an etching performance. His hitting for the cycle earned him an Appalachian League Player of the Year honor. Moreover, even amid the global pandemic, his progress was not halted. He became the Rays’ youngest player at the time. 

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Just like any other player, Franco too faced minor issues like injuries, yet he was quick to overcome his setbacks soon. Overall, his patch remained quite promising. Furthermore, there was even a time he left a lasting impact on the New York Yankees

Wander Franco in the Pinstripes? How He Missed the Bus to the New York Yankees

2023 was quite frustrating for the Bronx. The Yankees nation was dealing with feelings of disappointment and rage at the franchise. But sh*t hit the roof on August 2nd during their game against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was Franco who started the game with a stellar two-run home run when the Yankees ace Gerrit Cole pitched. ‘Cole Train’ predicted the outcome as soon as the ball left the bat. It flew to the sky and dropped finally to the seats in the right field. This started the infamous slogan against the Yankees GM, Brian Cashman. 

Fans chanted “Fire Cashman” echoing throughout the Yankee Stadium soon after Franco’s astounding dinger. Although the Yanks eventually won that game 7-2, the young hitter had left a mark that possibly took the Yankees back to what happened in 2016.  

Wander Franco would have been in the Pinstripes. As one of baseball’s top prospects hailing from Latin America, the mega franchise was all set to sign the $6 million deal. But that did not go through due to the 2016 collective bargaining agreement. This rule put a cap on international spending. With that, the Rays were permitted to sign the Dominican with the biggest bonus in the class instead. What started with a projection of a bright career pivoted quite sharply in a direction no one expected! 

What’s Next for Him? Will He Ever Play in the MLB Again?

There have been allegations on the shortstop which shook the world of MLB when brought to light. The discussion on the matter is about an investigation that followed an alleged case of money laundering and sexually abusive relationship with a minor girl. As per marca.com reports from ESPN’s Enrique Rojas and Z Digital’s Hector Gomez reveal that there have been orders for Franco to be held on a $35000 dollars bail. The development is that he would have to report to the court for 6 months every 30th day.  


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That said, the Rays had no idea that things would potentially take such a tough turn. But now, looms an uncertainty of whether Franco will return to MLB ever again. Assessing the gravity of the situation, The Athletic mentioned that it’s possible Rob Manfred, the commissioner of MLB, could suspend him.


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Read More: Wander Franco’s Baseball Family Revealed: Everything About the Dominican Shortstop’s Roots

Wander Franco’s alleged actions, if found true, would fall under baseball’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy, which deems him punishable even if the player comes free of legal penalties. With that possibility, Tampa’s financial and emotional investment in such a talented player remains shaken. One can only wait and watch what happens next.