Even before Wander Franco’s major league debut two years ago, the Rays shortstop has long been viewed as a future superstar for his amazing skills and advanced feel for the game. The production to this point in his early career have matched the hype—but, according to Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, it appears that the maturation prospect for the young star is still a work in progress.
Cash told reporters before Thursday’s game against the Royals that Franco would be benched for at least the next two games as a result of not handling his frustrations well and needing to be a better teammate. Cash emphasized that Franco, 22, is still viewed in a positive light, but he needs to correct certain aspects of his behavior before rejoining the lineup.
“Over the course of this season, there’s been probably multiple times that the way he has handled his frustrations have not been the way that we ask our players to uphold being the best teammate,” Cash said, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Franco’s handling of those frustrations has not appeared to have a negative impact on his results. Through 72 games, he’s batting .287/.349/.455 with 30 extra-base hits and 24 stolen bases. The Rays had lost a season-worst three consecutive games before Wednesday’s 7-2 win over the Orioles, during which Franco went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
“Wander is a really good kid, really good person,” Cash said. “He’s a young player that is learning and dealing with the challenges of being a major league player and some of the frustrations that come with it.”