MLB

Rays rookie Wander Franco matches Mickey Mantle with on-base streak

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Rays rookie sensation Wander Franco tripled in the first inning Monday against Red Sox ace Chris Sale. That marked the 36th straight game that Franco has reached base. Sure, long ago it was decreed that a hitting streak was a lot more sexy because walks have been disrespected in baseball for years, but getting on baseball every game is pretty damn impressive. 

Prior to Monday, Franco was hitting .321/.388/.533 with 13 doubles, two triples, four homers, 26 RBI and 33 runs during his 35-game on-base streak. He’s only been hitless in six of the games. The last time he failed to reach base was July 24, when he went 0 for 5. 

Here’s a look at his three-bagger off Sale:

There’s some history here with elite company. Consider that Franco — baseball’s top prospect entering the season — is 20 years old right now. The leaderboard of on-base streaks for players age 20 or younger is as follows: 

  1. Frank Robinson: 43 games in 1956
  2. Mickey Mantle: 36 games in 1950-51
  3. Wander Franco: 36 games (and counting) in 2021

Just two inner-circle Hall of Famers and Franco. Not bad.

For those curious, the record for an on-base streak is 84, set in 1949 by the great Ted Williams. 

Franco was hitting just .221/.272/.358 before the streak started, but that was only in his first 23 games, again, as a 20-year-old. It was only a matter of time before Franco got things sorted out at the plate at the big-league level. Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Rays at the age of 16, Franco quickly made his presence felt, hitting .351 with an OPS over 1.000 in Rookie Ball in 2018, rocketing himself up prospect lists. He’s a career .332/.398/.536 hitter in the minors. 

Let’s also not forget that Franco essentially missed a year of development in 2020 when there wasn’t a minor-league season. He had never played higher than Class-A Advanced until this season. After 39 games in Triple-A, he was summoned to the majors and he’s already thriving. That’s a special talent right there. 



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