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He's the No. 1 overall prospect for a reason

@paul_casella
November 16, 2020

Everyone knows what the Rays' Wander Franco is capable of doing with his bat, but don't sleep on his glove -- or, in this case, his bare hand. MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall prospect made a sensational defensive play while playing shortstop for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter

Everyone knows what the Rays' Wander Franco is capable of doing with his bat, but don't sleep on his glove -- or, in this case, his bare hand.

MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall prospect made a sensational defensive play while playing shortstop for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League on Monday night. After a line drive deflected off his pitcher's glove and trickled slowly behind the mound, Franco aggressively charged the ball, barehanded it and fired a missile to first to retire the batter.

Monday's play was just the latest example of the phenom's defensive potential. Though there are few doubts, if any, about the 19-year-old's hitting ability, Franco has also handled the shortstop position well in his brief professional career, displaying the hands, range and arm strength to potentially stick at the position long term, according to scouting reports.

Signed by the Rays in July 2017, Franco promptly earned the 2018 Rookie-level Appalachian League Most Valuable Player Award at just 17 years old after hitting .351/.418/.587. He jumped up to full-season ball in '19, hitting .327/.398/.487 across 114 games between Class A Bowling Green and Class A Advanced Charlotte.

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.