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June 28th: Your Monday MLB Check-In

The last full week of June has come and gone in this year's wild ride of an MLB season! Let's look back on the week and recap what went down in baseball.

Rays blue chip prospect Wander Franco impresses in his MLB debut

The long-awaited debut of baseball's unanimous top prospect, Wander Franco, didn't fail to impress. Franco, 20 years old (a whole seven years younger than Amazon!!), started at third base and hit 2nd in the Rays lineup against the Red Sox on Tuesday. In his first at-bat, Franco worked an impressive two-out walk to reach base, eventually coming around to score. His second at-bat, though, was one that he'll remember for a long time.

Franco's first big-league homer was also his first hit, showing signs of readiness to compete at the major league level. But the rest of the week was a bit tough for Franco; he went 1-for-18 and only came around to score once in the rest of the 5 games.

Rays manager Kevin Cash isn't worried at all about Franco's ability to compete, and is taking the process-driven approach on developing his blue-chip prospect. “He keeps hitting balls hard like that, they’re going to find holes," said Cash. "No concern whatsoever. Thrilled that we have him.”

No one was more thrilled than Franco's dad, who was elated to see his son go yard for his first hit. This is why we love sports, people!

Hector Santiago becomes first player to get rung up for new "sticky stuff" rules

We all knew it was coming, but who had an ejection in the first week of the MLB's new crackdown?! The 33-year-old Santiago has been around the block in his career; he's had stints for the Angels, White Sox, Twins, and Mets, and is currently a long-reliever for the Seattle Mariners.

Santiago left the mound after an inning in which he gave up 2 hits and walked 2 batters, but umpire crew chief Phil Cuzzi insisted on inspecting Santiago's glove.

The findings? "(The glove was) too sticky," said Cuzzi. As such, Santiago was removed from the game, and just like that, the first ejection for violating "sticky stuff" rules was extended.

Santiago says he had no malicious intent, however. Was it sweat & rosin, or was it Spider Tack? We may never know.

Red Sox sweep Yankees; Sox are 6-0 on the year against their sworn enemies

This won't be a pity party, and you can follow along with Will's musings about the Bronx Bombers (this is his latest piece). But it's clear that something needs to change in New York if the Yankees are to come back from what has been an incredibly below-average start to the year.

New to the season? Let's catch you up: "Inconsistency has defined us so far," said fourth-year manager Aaron Boone, who many Yankees fans are petitioning to send to the guillotine. The Yankees, now in 4th place (6.5 GB on Boston), have been plagued by strikeouts, ground-into-double-play's, and the injury bug; all seeming to proverbially strike at different times.

Credit the Boston Red Sox, who cranked 3 homers off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, who unquestionably had his worst performance of the year.

Take it from Cole: the Yankees have a lot of work to do to stay competitive this year.

Positivity Corner: Max Kranick debut ends in no-hitter through 5 innings

These are the stories you love to hear. Max Kranick was selected by the Pirates in the 11th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, chugged through the minor league scene, and started out 2021 on the AA roster. WIth his parent ball-club going through a full-blown rebuild, the Pirates decided they'd take a shot on the near-24-year-old Kranick, and he was nothing short of fantastic in the process.

Regrettably, a rain delay meant the end of his outing, but Kranick's debut will certainly be one he will never forget.


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