Rays to add Wander Franco to player pool of 60 players

Rays to add super prospect Roam frank their 60-man player pool, according to Jesse Sanchez and Juan Toribio of MLB.com. He will participate in the preseason increase and will be eligible to continue training with the team throughout the season.

As with the Tigers, and surely with all other teams, the Rays are considering development prerogatives along with competitive demands to decide which players will participate in summer training and be available as the season begins. Franco, the leading consensus baseball prospect, will gain invaluable experience to help make up for what follows as a lost season in the minor leagues.

Just because Franco is in the player pool doesn’t mean he’ll debut in 2020. The supernatural hitter could probably stay in the majors by now, but he doesn’t even need to be added to the 40-player roster until next winter. .

It is certainly possible, really, expected that Franco will enter the major league club before the team must grant him MLB status to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. And that could still happen in the sprint of a campaign that we are about to witness.

The odds of a 2020 debut likely decreased when the coronavirus stepped in, as Franco won’t have a chance to get reps (and put outrageous offensive numbers) on the top minors. The 19-year-old has been outstanding at all levels thus far, in particular, his unmatched plate discipline jumps off the page, but has yet to appear above the High-A level.

Franco can still force the hand of the Tampa Bay bronze in training, though any promotion to the active and 40-man roster is more likely to happen if a need and / or an opportunity arises. This short-season format could give the Rays a better chance to topple the division’s favorite Yankees or at least snatch a wild card. While service time will surely weigh in the calculation, the ability to draw on unique talent can be compelling.

For now, the key point is that Franco’s foot is on the door. At the very least, it’s on track to finish its development in 2020. If it doesn’t debut this year, it’s reasonably likely that we’ll have service time manipulation discussions next spring.