HOUSTON, TX - Houston Astros have signed international free agent shortstop Wander Franco, General Manager Jeff Luhnow announced this afternoon.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The 16-year-old, switch-hitting Franco (6-1, 180 lbs) is a native of Bani in the Dominican Republic. He will report to the Astros academy in the DR.
Franco was scouted and signed by Astros Director of International Oz Ocampo.
"Our scouts have been following Wander since he was 13 years old," Ocampo said. "Wander comes from a baseball family, and has an advanced feel for the game. His best tool is his bat. Offensively, Wander is one of the most advanced hitters in this year's July 2nd class. He is a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter with a selectively aggressive approach and above-average pitch recognition for his age.
"Defensively, Wander has plus instincts at shortstop, showing smooth hands, solid footwork, a strong arm, and a very good internal clock. We project him to play shortstop, second, or third base in the future."
Franco is the nephew of brothers Erick (currently with Angels) and Willy Aybar (formerly with the Dodgers, Braves and Rays), and the younger brother of Royals minor league SS/3B Wander Javier Franco.