Enderson Franco signs with Generales De Durango of the Mexican League
Franco has quite a bit of big league experience, having played five games for the Giants in 2019. The Venezuela native had 5 1/3 two-run innings while averaging just under 96 mile/ h on his fastball, but he hasn’t connected at any other time in MLB. He spent a decade in the affiliate ranks, however, performing well enough up to Double-A but wrestling at the top level of the minors. In parts of three Triple-A campaigns, Franco boasts a 5.43 ERA with a below-average strikeout percentage of 19.5% but a solid walk rate of 7.4%.
While Franco has never missed many at bats, his combination of arm strength and batting experience caught the eye of the Korea Baseball Organization’s Lotte Giants last winter. He signed with the Busan-based club and spent the 2021 season in South Korea. Franco went 150 innings in the KBO and posted a 5.40 ERA with an 18.3% strikeout rate while walking an uncharacteristically 11.1% of opponents. Lotte brought in former big leaguers Charlie Barnes and Glenn Sparkman as their two foreign-born pitchers this offseason, replacing outgoing Franco and Dan Straily (who signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks).
As the generals noted in their announcement of Franco’s signing, he has experience in rotation and relief roles. He started 163 of his 183 minor league appearances, but came out of the bullpen in his five major league outings and worked in both capacities (27 starts, 10 relief appearances) with Lotte. last season. Franco has pitched seven games — all in relief — in Venezuelan Winter League action this offseason.