February 25, 2021

Sources — No. 1 prospect Wander Franco to play for Dominican in Olympic qualifying (ESPN)

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco, the top prospect in baseball, and longtime star Jose Bautista plan to play for the Dominican Republic as the country tries to qualify for the Olympics later this month, sources familiar with their decisions told ESPN.

Franco, who turned 19 on Sunday, would strengthen a Dominican team jockeying for one of the remaining two qualifying spots in baseball’s return to the Olympics after a 12-year hiatus. He and Bautista, 39, would round out a roster that faces strong competition at the Americas Qualifying Event on March 22-26 in Tempe and Surprise, Arizona.

Among the teams vying to win the tournament and its single qualifying spot: The Dominican Republic, the United States, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The winner will join host nation Japan, Israel, Mexico and South Korea, who already have qualified, while the second- and third-place teams at the event will have an opportunity to lock up the sixth spot at the final qualifying tournament. Originally scheduled to be held in…

Read “Sources — No. 1 prospect Wander Franco to play for Dominican in Olympic qualifying” at ESPN