In round 7, Rays take college righty Franco

In round 7, Rays take college righty Franco

ST. PETERSBURG -- Florida International University right-hander Mike Franco became the Rays' seventh-round pick of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 1 p.m. ET.

Franco, 22, stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 200 pounds. He posted a 9-3 record with a 1.09 ERA in 15 starts for FIU in 2014. Included in those numbers were four complete games and two shutouts. He struck out 112 and walked 27 in 99 innings.

"He's not a prototype starting pitcher build, kind of built like Peralta, but three solid pitches and a good track record of performance this year," Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said, referring to Rays pitcher Joel Peralta.

Franco was named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List. An honor given out since 1978, the Golden Spikes Award is earned by the top amateur baseball player in the country.

Franco has a fastball that clocks in the low '90s, but he has touched 95 on occasion, and the pitch is said to have some run and good sink. He has a plus slider and his changeup has good movement.

He injured his right elbow in 2011, which eventually required him to undergo Tommy John surgery. Franco overcame the setback and even has a tattoo on his right biceps to serve as a reminder of the hard work he put in to come back after the surgery.

"The saying I came up with is, 'Some call it luck, but I call it hard work.' It's just something that I try to live up to all my life," said Franco in a story. "Every time I would wake up and hear people say it's just luck, it's something that he was born with, that's not how I see it. You have to put forth the effort and time to be the best you can be."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.