Tampa Bay Rays Wander Franco Crushes First Career Home Run in Big League Debut

It didn’t take long for Rays No. 1 prospect Wander Franco to make an impact in the big leagues. The 20-year-old prospect was called up by the Rays prior to their game with the Red Sox.

Franco doubled, homered, drove in three runs in the loss to Boston. His home run came in the fifth inning off Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

The 362-foot home run out the fans at Tropicana Field into a frenzy as the rookie showed some swagger rounding the bases.

“In that at-bat I actually knew I was going to hit a home run because that was the pitch I was looking for,” Franco said through an interpreter. “I ended up getting the pitch that I was looking for and I was able to help the team out.”

Wander Franco’s Father was in Attendance 

There was a memorable moment captured on camera in the fifth inning.

As Franco was rounding the bases after hitting his then game tying home run, he would point to his father in the crowd.

Franco’s father was videoed watching his sons at-bat and he reacted with pure joy and jubilation.

The video would go viral on social media after the Rays and tens of thousands of fans shared it.

Franco was able to get his home run ball back and is planning on displaying it at home back in the Dominican Republic.

“I felt super good,” he said through an interpreter. ”God sent me a surprise with all this.”

Tampa Bay Loses Seven Straight 

The Rays were hoping for a jolt in their lineup by adding Franco to their roster. He didn’t disappoint and provided some big moments he will never forget. However, the Rays would like to forget how they’ve been playing lately.

The 9-5 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday night was their seventh straight. The loss makes them a full game and half out of first place.

Tampa Bay is now 3-9 in extra inning games this season.

“We’ve talked about it kind of over and over on this tough stretch that we’ve been on, that we’d like to somehow find a way to manufacture something, put a little bit more pressure on the opposition, but we’re just not doing it right now. l know we’re totally capable of it,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash.

WanderMania is Running Wild

Franco should bring the hype and excitement that the Rays have been hoping for after they signed him. The Rays signed Franco as a 16-year-old in July 2017 for a $3.85 million bonus.

Franco has been tearing up the minors ever since giving Tampa Bay a potential superstar waiting in the wings. The young infielder hit .315 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 39 games this season at Triple-A Durham.

“Pretty electric player,” Cash said. “I wish we would have somehow got a win. Because it would have been in large part for his contributions.”

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