I saw the stocky righty make two starts for Atlanta’s Double-A affiliate in July of 2018, though it has been a long road there. Franco originally signed with the Astros as a 16-year-old from Venezuela in 2009, then was selected by the Rays in the Minor League Phase of 2013’s Rule V Draft. The Rays shipped Franco to the Marlins for international pool money in 2015, and wound up with the Braves after being drafted in the Minor League Phrase of the Rule V Draft again after the season.
His fastball sits 93-to-94 mph, touching 97 mph at best. The pitch has solid sink down in the zone, with armside tail when he’s able to angle to the lower-third. Franco’s heater straightens out when elevated and he doesn’t command it often, causing it to play average despite plus velocity. His best secondary is a mid-80s changeup, sold like a fastball with good separation. It flashes average when he keeps it around the zone and can develop into a 50-grade offering in time. Franco’s third pitch is a slider, and while he throws it for strikes, it’s a fringy slurve that big league hitters can spit on out of the zone. Franco’s fringy-average three-pitch mix could get him to the big leagues. Limited command and control hold him back from fitting a starter’s profile, but he could fit as a long reliever.