Wander Franco was once the top prospect in all of baseball.
“A switch-hitter with ridiculously strong wrists, blazing-fast bat speed and preternatural bat-to-ball skills,” MLB.com once said of the Rays’ can’t-miss superstar shortstop prospect.
Fast forward just three years and Franco’s baseball career may be over at the age of 22.
Franco still has plenty of talent. That much is clear. But a series of off-field issues have plagued him in the last year, including the most-recent which involves an alleged illegal relationship with a minor.
News first broke of the relationship in early August when pictures hit social media of Franco alongside an alleged 15-year-old girl.
At that point, police and Major League Baseball began investigating the situation. Tampa Bay immediately removed Franco from its 26-man roster.
Major League Baseball then placed him on administrative leave effective immediately on August 22.. A statement from the league made it clear that “the administrative leave, effective immediately, is not disciplinary under the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.”
But things have since gotten worse for the one-time future star.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that “a special prosecutor in the Dominican Republic is investigating a second formal complaint” against Franco regarding an inappropriate relationship with a minor.
(Passan himself cites an ESPN Deportes report from Juan Recio.)
Passan also writes that the new investigation stems from a third girl to allege she had an illegal relationship with Franco.
“Prosecutors from the division, which investigates crimes committed against children, hope to speak with Franco in the coming weeks,” he wrote. “In the D.R., the age of consent is 18. Anyone over 18 who engages in a sexual relationship with someone younger than 18 can be charged criminally.”
Neither the Rays nor Franco have commented on the latest investigation.
But it’s doubtful we see Franco on an MLB diamond anytime soon.