San Diego Padres 2018 Review: Outfielder Franchy Cordero
By Nick Stevens
Part three of our San Diego Padres offseason roster review continues with a look at one of the more exciting position players on the roster.
Oh, the season 2018 could have been for San Diego Padres outfielder Franchy Cordero. After winning the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the Dominican Winter League last year, Cordero earned his way into the Padres lineup and provided some highlight reel moments during his short stint with the major league ballclub. Elbow surgery seemed to end Cordero’s season as quickly as it had started.
Before surgery, Cordero appeared in 40 games, hitting .237 with a .307 on-base percentage and a .439 slugging percentage. He jacked seven home runs, five doubles, one triple, and stole five bases. While his walk rate neared 10%, his strikeout rate approached 36%, showing one of the main areas of his game that Cordero needs to focus on in 2019.
We only have 40 games of data to look at, some of those games were nothing more than a late-game pinch-hit, however, fans quickly saw exactly what Andy Green was talking about when he said that Cordero has the most explosive tools on the current roster.
Few players in baseball can hit the ball as hard as Cordero can. Nearly 50% of all of his batted balls were classified as “hard-hit” per Baseball Savant (anything over 95 mph is considered hard-hit). His hardest hit ball of 2018 was clocked at 116.9 mph, good enough for the 13th hardest hit ball in the majors this season.
This rocket ship against the Arizona Diamondbacks traveled 489 feet and was the second furthest home run this season, behind only Trevor Story‘s 505-foot bomb.
Franchy Cordero’s 2019 outlook with the San Diego Padres.
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Franchy isn’t going to hit for a high average and the strikeouts are going to remain high, that’s what type of hitter Cordero is. His power and athleticism cannot be ignored, meaning his return next season will, once again, add to an overcrowded outfield problem for the San Diego Padres.
The biggest concern with Cordero isn’t the strikeouts, long swing, or ability to consistently get on base, it’s his defense.
You don’t need advanced defensive metrics to know that Cordero struggled in the field, but let’s take a peek anyway. In 323 innings, Cordero recorded -6 Defensive Runs Saved, -2 Outs Above Average, and a -5.5 Ultimate Zone Rating. There was also that potential no-hitter by Tyson Ross that ended after a severe misplay by Cordero (Ross’ pitch count was too high to go the distance but it was still a disastrous route by Franchy).
If Cordero can put together his plus-speed, plus-arm, and plus-power, the Padres have themselves a very special player. There’s still a long way to go but 2019 will be another evaluation year for Cordero to show his potential.
As of right now, Manuel Margot slots in center and Cordero should be penciled in left field, leaving the right field job open to either Hunter Renfroe or Franmil Reyes. However, before he gets major consideration for a starting job, Cordero must first prove he is recovered from surgery. He will begin his offseason in the Dominican Winter League soon, marking his return to the diamond since surgery.
Next up, we continue our complete review of the 2018 season by looking back at the surprisingly good year Travis Jankowski had.