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Rays call up baseball's No. 1 prospect Wander Franco for AL East clash vs. Red Sox

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This week's series for first place in the AL East just got more sizzle. 

The Tampa Bay Rays announced on Sunday that they're calling up baseball's consensus top prospect Wander Franco. The 20-year-old switch-hitting infielder is scheduled to make his debut on Tuesday for Game 1 of a three-game series between the Rays and Red Sox in Tampa. 

The defending AL champion Rays enter the series at 43-30, a half-game behind the the 43-29 Red Sox for first place in the AL East. They also enter the series in need of a spark in the midst of a six-game losing streak. 

Wander Franco (1) looks on while on third base during the third inning at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Wander Franco will make his MLB debut in a high-stakes AL East series. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Is Wander Franco ready at 20 years old?

Franco has the potential to be a difference maker. In 38 games this season with the Triple-A Durham Bulls, Franco slashed .323/.376/.601 with seven home runs, 35 RBIs and four stolen bases in 173 plate appearances. He's been baseball's top-rated prospect for the last two seasons. 

Asked in February if he was ready to join MLB at such a young age, Franco was confident:

"I'm ready to play in the big leagues,” Franco said through an interpreter, per MLB.com. “I'm ready to achieve the goal that I've been trying to achieve since I was a little kid, to make it up to the big leagues.”

The Rays signed Franco in 2017 from the Dominican Republic. At the time, he ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 2 international prospect behind only Shohei Ohtani, who's now an MVP candidate playing for the Los Angeles Angels. 

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