We know what you’re thinking upon reading that headline: I mean, it’s a ground ball to the shortstop — how many ways of making that routine putout could there possibly be? We felt the same way, but where others are settling, Tampa Bay Rays star Wander Franco is out here innovating:
You’ve heard of the bat flip, and now here’s the ball flip. (Of course, you can mess around like that when you have an absolute cannon for a throwing arm that helps you still easily get the out at first.)
But somehow, Franco wasn’t finished looking cool as hell on the diamond for the night — just a few minutes later, he nearly sent a ball into the ray tank out in right-center at Tropicana Field.
Just a casual five minutes in the life of Wander Franco pic.twitter.com/H6SfEMgdWp— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 4, 2023
All in a day’s work for the leader of baseball’s best team through one month of play. With its second straight win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night, the Rays improved to a whopping 25-6 on the season, 4.5 games clear of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. Franco has been arguably the biggest reason why: The former top prospect in all of baseball is now hitting .305/.369/.559 with six homers and seven steals this season, numbers that should give him a real shot at snagging AL MVP honors. Okay, fine, a real shot if Shohei Ohtani stops being a baseball alien.
Still, if style points warrant consideration, we know who’ll get our vote.