Salt Lake City, Utah —— On Saturday, the San Diego Padres promoted outfielder Franchy Cordero to the big leagues, and he got his first at-bat that evening against the Washington Nationals. Baseball Census was on hand a few days earlier to watch Cordero play for the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas on the road in Salt Lake City against the Los Angeles Angels‘ affiliate Salt Lake Bees.
At the time of his call-up, Franchy Cordero was slashing .289/.349/.520/.869 in 42 games with El Paso. In 173 at-bats, he had hit five doubles, seven triples, and seven home runs, and stolen eight bases, though he did strike out 59 times.
Here’s a video of Cordero hitting in that game against Sale Lake earlier this week, including a clip of him slugging an opposite-field home run:
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Franchy Cordero MLB debut: Offensive scouting report
Franchy Cordero has a tall, lanky build, but he provides decent power that is generated by a long swing with good leverage from a high stance. He seems to have added a little more power relative to his last few seasons in pro ball, as he hit seven home runs in about 200 Triple-A plate appearances before his call-up, whereas he hit just 11 homers in 602 PAs across three different leagues last year. That power might be aided by playing full time in the PCL, though he did split time between the hitter-friendly Cal League and the PCL at points last year, too. His long swing will cause him problems, though, and he has some trouble with inside pitches and hard throwing pitchers. He also struggles to hit balls high in the strike zone, and can get out of his approach to lunge down to off-speed pitches in the dirt thanks to inconsistent pitch recognition.
If he can shorten his swing somewhat and adjust to the hole in the top half of his strike zone, Cordero could be a solid speedy gap hitter with plus athleticism. He doesn’t have quick acceleration, but once he gets into full gear he’s a plus runner—traits that maybe help him on defense more than at the plate and on the bases. That said, he can steal bases at times, and could make himself into more of a base running threat if he focused on that aspect of his game.
Franchy Cordero MLB debut: Defensive scouting report
Long legs allow Franchy Cordero to cover a lot of ground in center field, and that top speed once he gets into full gear gives him above-average range at the position. He should have no problem sticking in center field because of it, and thanks to solid instincts in the outfield with good reads on the ball hit off the bat. His arm strength isn’t exceptional, but it’s probably slightly above average, and certainly good enough to play center field every day, or to play between all three outfield positions in shorter spurts.
Cordero has played 165 games at shortstop in his minor league career, and even though he’s been strictly an outfielder since the start of 2016, it’s a testament to his hands and overall defensive profile that he used to be a professional shortstop. His versatility in the outfield may be his best asset, though, and he could find himself eventually falling into a fourth outfielder role that can play all three positions well while having something of an impact on the offensive side of his game.
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In this Franchy Cordero MLB Debut / San Diego Padres analysis: