Franco's card goes for nearly $200K

May 23rd, 2021

has yet to set foot on the field for a Major League game, but his baseball card is already worth big league money.

An autographed 2019 Bowman Chrome card featuring baseball’s top prospect sold at auction for nearly $200,000 on Saturday. The purchase price set a new all-time record for any Franco card according to Goldin Auctions.

In the company’s spring auction, Franco’s card, which sold for $198,030, was far from the largest price tag -- a 1909 Honus Wagner card went for $3.75 million -- but stood out because of the young star's profile. Among auction lots featuring the likes of Wagner, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and a host of other legends, Franco stood alone with such a limited career path to this point. Just 20 years old, he had not played above the High-A level prior to this season.

Now with Triple-A Durham, Franco has acquitted himself well in his first taste of the Minors’ highest level. The infielder is batting .269/.333/.493 for the Bulls and playing all over defensively, making 10 starts at shortstop plus three apiece at second and third.

Signed by the Rays in 2018 out of his native Dominican Republic, Franco possesses an elite bat tool with the highest achievable grade of 80 according to MLB Pipeline’s 20-to-80 scouting scale. Throughout his career, he’s lived up to the hype. Franco was named Appalachian League MVP during his debut season and earned a Futures Game selection in 2019. Last year, with the cancellation of the Minor League season, Franco got to spend the summer at the Rays’ alternate training site before earning a spot on Tampa Bay’s postseason taxi squad.

The Rays may have cleared a path for Franco’s ascension to the Major League level last week when they traded shortstop Willy Adames to the Brewers. Franco didn’t get the call immediately with Tampa Bay instead summoning defensive whiz Taylor Walls from Durham, but the door should be opening soon for baseball’s top young talent.