Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Keith Law: Wander Franco could be a teen idol, Brendan McKay should only pitch

ESPN analyst is latest to praise Rays, ranking nine among his top 100 prospects.
Wander Franco signs autographs before a game between the Rays and Blue Jays in September at Tropicana Field. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Wander Franco signs autographs before a game between the Rays and Blue Jays in September at Tropicana Field. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Jan. 30, 2019

In ranking nine Rays among his top 100 prospects, ESPN’s Keith Law also shared some interesting thoughts on two of their best.

One, that No. 3-ranked SS Wander Franco, the still 17-year-old, could make it to the major leagues as a teenager.

And two, that No. 14 LHP/1B Brendan McKay should give up hitting and being a two-way player because he is good enough to pitch in the majors this season.

Law is the latest expert to lavish praise on the Rays farm system, lauding the franchise for its improved work in the draft, international signings and trading for minor-leaguers.

Other Rays he ranked include:

No. 19 RHP Brent Honeywell

No. 36 LHP Matt Liberatore (the Rays' 2018 top pick),

No. 59 2B Vidal Brujan

No. 71 OF Jesus Sanchez

No. 84 C Ronaldo Hernandez

No. 94 RHP Shane Baz (acquired from Pirates in Chris Archer trade)

No. 100 SS Lucius Fox (acquired from Giants in Matt Moore trade)

Though Franco has played only one pro season with Princeton in the rookie-level Appalachian League, Law said on a conference call Wednesday his tools are advanced well beyond his age.

“Put away service-time games for a moment. If you told me he was going to make his big-league debut at the end of 2020, that would not surprise me,'' Law said, comparing him to the two top-ranked prospects, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vlad Guerrero Jr. "He is so advanced.''

Law said he’d expect Franco to finish this season with advanced Class-A Charlotte, if not higher, and move quickly in 2020.

As for McKay, Law said his performance on the mound is so far ahead of his hitting that the Rays should halt the two-way development plan because it is holding him back unnecessarily.

"I think that time has come,'' Law said. "They’re going to have to make that decision now. They don’t necessarily agree. But every scout I spoke to who saw him last year said, Just put him on the mound. He could eventually be a good two-way player, but there is such a disparity between where he is as a pitcher and where he is as a hitter that you’re probably holding him back as a pitcher.''