Julio Rodríguez at Spring Training / Capture of MLB Network

Rookie Wander Franco is on the verge of becoming an MLB record man, even though he’s just out of his teens.

The recruit has been one of the stars of the Tampa Bay Rays in their dominant season. He’s shown the scouts were right when they rated him the number one prospect in baseball. And with 40 straight games on base, he’s chasing a mark from Frank Robinson himself.

In Seattle, many hope that history will soon repeat itself with another gem from the Dominican Republic. Because Julio Rodríguez is now the best prospect in Latin America and is shredding the ball in the Minor Leagues.

Rodríguez is also 20 years old and shone at Spring Training. The West Coast press speculated that he would make the grade as early as spring training. But his team preferred to give it more maceration.

By dint of boards he is showing that he will be in the Major Leagues very soon.

In Quisqueya they have it clear. Rodríguez demolished the opponents in the Pre-Olympic, in defense of the national jersey, with an offense that closed with a .458 average.

He was part of the Dominican team that won the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2021 Games. There he hit .417, en route to the podium. And before and after that it has not stopped producing. It does not matter what level it is assigned to.

“Rodriguez has every chance to be a high-level hitter, with high power in the Major Leagues,” reads the MLB Pipeline report. “Play with passion and joy for the game. And that should help him become a superstar in no time. “

MLB Pipeline updated weeks ago your ladder of emerging values ​​on the Big Show farms. The portal dedicated to prospects on MLB.com removed from the ranking those who, like Franco, are already shining in the Big Top.

Rodriguez went on to be number two in the overall tally and first among outfielders, first among right-hitters and first among Latinos.

Only Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman ranks above the Dominican right now.

But maybe the order will change before the next Spring Training. Rutschman has done well between Double A and Triple A. Rodríguez has done even better.

The young patrolman has averages of .347 / .441 / .560 between Advanced Class A and Double A. His 1,001 OPS is a tribute to Barry Bonds. He has hit 34 extra-base hits in 74 games, including 19 doubles and 13 home runs. He has stolen 21 pads in 26 attempts.

It’s the complete package. And he seems ready to make the leap, although the Mariners will delay their decision until March 2022.

Franco is shortstop and waiter. But there the differences end. Because both are the spearhead of a Quisqueya that does not stop sending players of great talent and multiple abilities to the Major Leagues.

The Rays infielder reached 40 consecutive games on Friday, reaching by hit or walk. And that, at 20 years of age, is an unusual achievement.

The ambidextrous slugger is only behind Robinson, a notorious Hall of Famer, who set the record of 43. Gone are Mickey Mantle and everyone else.

This Saturday he did not play. He watched from the bench as the Rays celebrated the division title. Manager Kevin Cashman took him out of the lineup to avoid a problem with the Marlins. The night before, up on the board 8 runs to 0, with catcher Sandy León turned into a pitcher, he stole third base in what some considered a mockery, rather than a boast.

“It wasn’t ideal, but he’s a boy and we’ve already talked to him,” Cashman said via Zoom.

Franco may still need to learn certain MLB etiquette. But the former super prospect is already a force capable of decisively helping a division champion.

Rodríguez hopes to imitate him very soon. Their demonstration throughout 2021 is telling us that they are both made from the same wood.


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