The most exciting player on the Tampa Bay Rays is a 21-year old kid named Wander Franco. He was ranked as the #1 prospect in the entire minor league system last year, and has been raking ever since he was promoted to the major league team. His offensive numbers are stunning: he has more home runs than the entire Tampa Bay Rays team, and he has more RBIs than a third of the major league roster. His defense has been just as impressive, only committing 3 errors all year, with only 0 double plays turned. He doesn’t have the best average, but he has good speed, and is a superb defender and player.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been a playoff team for eight consecutive years, but that streak will be broken this year. The team is set to lose two starters from last year’s playoff team: two-time All-Star Evan Longoria and former first overall pick pitcher David Price. They also have a number of players who are on the cusp of breaking into the major leagues. One of them is third baseman Wander Franco.

The Tampa Bay Rays phenom Wander Franco will make history just by stepping on the field. The Cuban-native prospect, who defected from Cuba earlier this year, is the first-ever Cuban player to arrive in the United States and play in the MLB.

Vander Franco has been Major League Baseball’s top prospect for two years in a row. The Tampa Bay Rays phenomenon had all the makings of a future star. The future starts now. The Rays recalled Franco from their Triple-A division in Durham, North Carolina, and he will be available on June 22 against the Boston Red Sox to make his debut.

Through his efforts alone, the 20-year-old Dominican shortstop will make MLB history. This historic moment will have nothing to do with his diamond skills. On the contrary, it has to do with his presence on the field at Fenway Park.

Time passes, and this, more than anything else, will etch Franco’s name in stone. He will join a player from another time and place as the first of his kind.

Pending Vander Franco, we need to ask: Who was Virgil Cheves?

Virgil Cheves a lancé brièvement pour les New York Giants en 1927, mais suffisamment longtemps pour figurer sur la photo de l’équipe (premier rang, deuxième à partir de la droite). Cheves partage une place dans l’histoire de la MLB avec Vander Franco, | Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

More than a century ago, a rare moment in Major League Baseball history occurred at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Le droitier des Chicago Cubs Virgil Cheves est sorti de l’abri du côté de la troisième base du Forbes Field pour commencer le bas de la huitième manche contre les Pirates de Pittsburgh.

Les débuts de Cheeves en ligue majeure se sont déroulés sans incident. It eliminated the pirates.

The Cubs failed to score in the ninth inning and Pittsburgh won 7-4. Le 7. In September 1920, the match between the two underdogs of the National League was not, in itself, much of a big deal. Les Pirates ont terminé à la quatrième place du classement des huit équipes, tandis que les Cubs ont terminé à la cinquième place. It was one of those late season games between teams that play out a game.

Cheves was born on the 12th. Né à Oklahoma City en février 1901, il a joué au baseball semi-professionnel à Dallas après le lycée. En 1920, il a eu la chance de jouer pour les Eastland Judges, l’équipe la moins bien classée de la classe D. Bien qu’il ait joué dans l’équipe de dernière place, il a obtenu un bilan de 14-12 et a eu la chance de jouer pour les Cubs.

Pourquoi les débuts de Cheeves étaient-ils dignes d’intérêt en premier lieu ? Because when Cheves stepped into the ring that September afternoon against the Pirates, he became the first player in Game 20 to do so. The player born in the last century who played in an MLB game.

And that’s where Vander Franko comes in.

Franco has long been on the radar of scouts

Vander Franco made his first media appearance at a restaurant in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He answered questions about what he wants to do as a player, posed for pictures and signed a few autographs. According to, everything was done according to local custom. Unusually, the player in question was only 13 years old.

He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays in July 2017 and moved to Princeton, West Virginia the following summer to take his first steps in professional baseball. The 17-year-old was undefeated. At the rookie level, Franco hit .351/.418/.587 with 11 home runs in 273 innings.

Franco has shown enough promise with the Durham Bulls this year that the Rays should make a gift of the future. Tampa Bay shuffled the cards by selling current shortstop Willie Adams to the Milwaukee Brewers in May.

Franco is now ready to join Chives as the first of a generation. Born on 1. In March 2001, Franco became the first player of the 21st century. Century was born and plays in the MLB.

Virgil Cheves was never a star, but Vander Franco shows a lot of potential

Tampa Bay Rays’ Vander Franco hits during a spring training game. | Brece Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

In 1921, Virgil Cheves earned a permanent spot on the Chicago Cubs team. But he, like the Cubs themselves for two seasons, was not good enough. In 1921 he had an ERA of 4.64 and a WHIP of 1.466 in 163 innings, and the following season he had an ERA of 4.09 and a WHIP of 1.484. An elbow injury kept him sidelined for most of the 1923 season, and he was sold to a lower division club in the winter. He went on to play for the Cleveland Indians and the New York Giants.

Cheves has pitched 111 games with an ERA of 4.73 and a WHIP of 1.557 in 458.2 innings. After retiring in 1928, he made a brief comeback in 1929 as a member of Waco’s Class A Texas League team. He departed after an ERA of 7.73 in 71 innings.

Franco’s expectations are high. In his four pro seasons, he reached his potential at every stage. Franco was at his best in the Dominican Winter League, going 7-for-20 with a home run in five games. In Durham, he hit .315/.367/.586 with 24 extra-base hits in 177 appearances.

Bien que les Rays de Tampa Bay aient surévalué les joueurs dans un contexte de problèmes d’affluence persistants, ils ont construit un prétendant permanent grâce à un système agricole productif. Vander Franco now has a chance to live up to expectations.

statistics provided by Baseball Reference.

COMPARED TO: How long has the Tampa Bay Rays team been around?

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