A former SF Giants reliever is thriving overseas and is eyeing a chance to appear in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2023. Right-handed reliever Enderson Franco has reportedly expressed interest in pitching for Team Venezuela next spring.
Veteran minor league pitcher with brief stint on the 2019 SF Giants team eyeing World Baseball Classic
Franco confirmed that representatives with Team Venezuela have asked about his availability when the WBC takes place. Despite having a very brief stint with the Giants, Franco is beginning to see some success overseas.
The right-handed hurler began his career with the Houston Astros organization before making stops with the Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves, and Giants organizations. Interestingly, he has been selected twice in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Plus, he has also been traded for international bonus slot money.
The veteran minor leaguer signed a minor league contract with the Giants for the 2019 season and put together an encouraging campaign. With the Sacramento River Cats, Franco registered a 5.97 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, and a 2.72 SO/W ratio in 26 appearances, including 22 starts.
The ERA might seem inflated, but the Pacific Coast League can be a brutal environment for pitchers. He earned a late-season promotion to the Giants roster where he tallied two earned runs on four strikeouts against only one walk in 5.1 frames.
However, he did not remain on the roster for long as he was outrighted off of the 40-man roster in the offseason. Franco pitched for the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2021 but he had a really nice season for the Fubon Guardians of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in 2022.
In 39 appearances, the 29-year-old recorded a 2.50 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 8.9 K/9, and a 5.00 SO/W ratio with a Guardians team that struggled to the tune of a 44-69 record. Despite the team's struggles, Franco excelled and has been flashing the type of premium velocity that I do not recall him having with the Giants in 2019:
Franco's career has evolved nicely since his brief stint in a Giants uniform came to an end in 2019. Clearly, he has opened a lot of eyes as Team Venezuela is typically a good team in the WBC. Hopefully, he gets a chance to pitch with them next spring.