ZEBULON, N.C. - Former Carolina Mudcats pitcher Enderson Franco, who pitched for the Mudcats during the 2016 season, made his Major League Baseball debut for the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night in Boston versus the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Franco allowed a home run and struck out a batter in his MLB debut while pitching through the final inning of what was Manager Bruce Bochy's 2,000th career victory.
Franco, 26, played for the Mudcats during the 2016 season and is now the ninth player from that team to reach Major League Baseball. He is also the eighth former Mudcat to make his Major League Baseball debut this year. The list of former Mudcats to have reached the majors so far in 2019 includes Devin Williams (2018 Mudcats), INF Isan Diaz (2017), INF Travis Demeritte (2016), OF Trent Grisham (2017), Keston Hiura (2018), RHP Jordan Yamamoto (2017) and INF Dylan Moore (2016).
A native of Anaco, Venezuela, Franco went 6-12 and pitched to a 4.69 ERA over 26 games, including 25 starts, with the Mudcats during the 2016 season. He also appeared in a team high 144.0 innings pitched while walking 46 and totaling 97 strikeouts during Carolina's second and final year as an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Franco was named the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Week for the final week of the 2016 season after tossing a complete game shutout during game one of a doubleheader versus Winston-Salem at Five County Stadium on September 4, 2016. Franco struck out seven, walked two and scattered three hits while working through seven scoreless innings during what his final start of the 2016 season.
The Giants brought up Franco on September 15 from Triple-A Sacramento where he was a member of the Pacific Coast League and Triple-A National Champion River Cats. Franco was 6-5 with a 5.97 ERA over 26 games and 22 starts with the River Cats before receiving his call to the big leagues. He also walked 36 and struck out 98 over 113.0 innings pitched this season with Sacramento.
Franco was originally signed by the Houston Astros in 2009 and made his professional debut in 2010 while pitching with Houston's Dominican Summer League affiliate. Franco was later acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays during the Triple-A phase of the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. He was later traded by the Rays to the Miami Marlins in July 2015 before signing with the Braves in December 2015. He remained with the Braves before electing free agency following the 2018 season and later signed with San Francisco in January 2019.
Franco reached the big leagues in his 10th professional season and after appearing in 183 MiLB games, including 29 games at the Triple-A level, 28 in Double-A, 45 at High-A, 27 at Low-A, 13 in Advanced Short-Season and 41 at the Rookie level. He also pitched for 12 different Minor League teams over five Major League organizations.
The Carolina Mudcats are the proud Carolina League, Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. First established in 1991, the two-time Southern League Champion Mudcats are entering their 30th consecutive season of baseball at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, N.C. The Mudcats are owned and operated by the Milwaukee Brewers.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.