Noah Franco is an exceptional talent and one of the top players in this year’s prep class. He has made tremendous strides at IMG Academy (Fla.) in the last four years to develop into a highly-regarded two-way player.
Franco moved from California to Florida to attend IMG Academy, starting his eighth-grade year. He initially started as a position player before taking on the challenge of being a two-way player, he said. Franco thrived against premium prep talent, leading to his reclassification from the 2025 class to the 2024 class on Jan. 1, 2023.
Most talent evaluators considered Franco the top prep player in the 2025 class when he reclassified. Now, Franco is one of the top prep players in the 2024 class, with scouts projecting the left-handed pitcher/position player as a potential top-10 pick in this year’s MLB draft.
“It’s always been one of my dreams,” said Franco of playing pro ball. “This all leads to the main goal of being a long-time big leaguer that could go off to be an every-year All-Star and eventually in the Hall of Fame. That is the main goal, and all of this just feeds into that position.”
On the mound, Franco is a 6-foot-3, 207-pound left-handed pitcher who throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, slider, cutter and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot and clean, athletic delivery.
Franco’s best pitches are his fastballs. They have touched 93 mph in the past and regularly miss bats. His slider is a swing-and-miss pitch. His changeup flashes potential and projects to be a reliable pitch in the future. He attacks the strike zone with all four pitches while mixing in the cutter occasionally as a setup pitch for his slider.
“My competitiveness and mentality are big for me,” Franco said. “My arm strength, pitchability and just my ability in certain situations to have plus control also are strengths for me.”
Franco is a left-handed hitter with a short, compact swing and notable bat speed. He has quality contact skills, plenty of power potential and uses all parts of the field. He has the potential to be a special hitter in pro ball.
Defensively, Franco has unique position versatility. He has played center field and right field in his first two years at IMG Academy. After performing well at first base on the showcase circuit last summer, Franco will play first base in his final prep season this spring, he said.
Franco is a quality athlete with above-average arm strength. He’s an above-average defender at first base due to his athleticism. He has quality instincts and runs clean routes in the outfield. Scouts believe he profiles well at either defensive spot in pro ball.
“I feel most comfortable wherever they put me,” Franco said. “I have enough experience in the outfield, either the corners or center field, and first base. Last summer was the first summer I played a lot of first. I feel like that is a position I could play at the next level.”
Scouts are split on Franco’s future position in pro ball. If he declines the pro interest in the summer and honors his commitment to TCU, he will serve as a two-way player in college.
Franco initially committed to Mississippi State but decommitted in April. He committed to TCU in October due to his relationship with the coaching staff and its development of two-way players.
Franco spent time with TCU left-hander and first baseman Payton Tolle on his visit to TCU. Tolle is in his first year at TCU after transferring from Wichita State following two extremely productive seasons. Speaking with a current two-way player helped ease Franco’s mind about TCU.
“They currently have a two-way player on their roster from Wichita State, and he should be a really good player,” said Franco on Tolle. “He was my host for my visit weekend, and we talked a bunch about it and what to expect. We talked about the schedule for a two-way, and it’s a pretty similar schedule to what I have at IMG.
“(Coach Kirk Saarloos) has uplifted that program. Everyone wants to develop wherever you go. I felt like that was the place for me.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.