Wander Q&A: Fave food, MLB heroes & more

June 21st, 2021

Wander Samuel Franco was destined to be a baseball player. He was going to play in the Major Leagues, and his father believed it the day the child was born.

Franco's father, also named Wander, pitched in the Minors with the White Sox. The top prospect’s oldest brother, Wander Javier Franco, played in the Minors in the Royals’ and Giants’ organization, and his second-oldest brother, Wander Alexander Franco, played in the Minors in the Astros’ and the Giants’ farm system.

“My father wanted one of us to follow in his footsteps as a professional,” said Franco, who will be added to the Rays’ roster from Triple-A Durham on Tuesday. “He never made it to the big leagues, but he wanted us to take the same road and represent the family with the same name as his.”

Now, it’s Wander time.

It's been less than four years since Wander signed at 16 with the Rays. And this week, he will make his big league debut. The numbers speak for themselves.

But who is Wander Samuel Franco? The rising star recently had a fun chat with MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, and here’s what he had to say for himself:

MLB.com: Can you tell us about your nickname? We know it loosely translates to “boss man.”

Franco: Patrón is my nickname. I got it at [Rookie-level] Princeton in my first year as a professional. I was 17, and there was a lot of 20- and 21-year-olds on the team. With the numbers I was putting up, one of my teammates nicknamed me Patrón because I was so young doing good things. It just stuck with me.

MLB.com: What’s your favorite meal? Is there something you like to cook?

Franco: Arroz con huevo y avocate (rice with eggs and avocado). It’s my favorite thing to make and cook.

MLB.com: You are very active on social media. Do you have a favorite platform?

Franco: I love Instagram. It’s my favorite social media app. It’s easy to use, and I enjoy it a lot.

MLB.com: We know you love baseball. What do you do in your free time? Do you have hobbies?

Franco: I have loved sports cars since I was a kid. My mother always bought me toy sports cars to play with as a child so that was my first hobby outside of baseball. When I turned pro, I bought myself a Lamborghini and a Rolls Royce.

MLB.com: What about video games? Do you play them?

Franco: Of course! I play NBA [2K21], Call of Duty and MLB The Show.

MLB.com: We all know baseball players are creatures of habit. What is your daily routine?

Franco: Every day I wake up and give thanks to God for life and another day in the sun. I eat fruit and pancakes. Hit in the cage and use the machine.

MLB.com: Did you have a favorite player growing up in the Dominican Republic?

Franco: I loved all of the teams because every team had good players. I admired Manny Machado, José Ramírez and Albert Pujols growing up.

MLB.com: Why do you wear jersey No. 5?

Franco: I wear No. 5. The only Dominican player that’s really had a lot of success wearing that number is Albert Pujols. That’s why I wear it. It’s out of respect and tribute to Albert Pujols. He’s put up so many numbers, and he’s just a legend in the Dominican Republic.

MLB.com: Which big league stadium do you want to visit the most, the stadium of your dreams?

Franco: Easy one. I’d love to play in Tropicana Field.