Framing the Friars: Franchy Cordero Impresses in First Start

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One day after striking out in his major league debut against Washington Nationals hurler, Stephen Strasburg, Franchy Cordero was in the starting lineup for the Padres on Sunday. Starting your career off against a guy like Strasburg is never easy, but Cordero had a bit of an easier challenge for his first game as a starter: right-handed pitcher, and former Padre, Joe Ross.

After a two-run home run by Ryan Schimpf gave the Padres a first-inning lead, Cordero came to the plate with two outs and a runner at first. Here’s how that first at bat. After taking a 93 mph sinker inside for ball one, Cordero swung away at a 1-0 sinker at the bottom of the strike zone, putting the ball on the ground to second base at an exit velocity of just 80.5 mph.

Courtesy of Baseball Savant

Cordero’s second at bat of the day, and third of his career, came in the third inning after a leadoff fly out from Hunter Renfroe. To start this at bat, Cordero took a slider low and inside for ball one. Ross followed the first pitch ball with a sinker right down the middle of the plate, which Cordero took for strike one. After a 1-1 sinker missed on the inside of the plate, Cordero got the pitch he was looking for: a 92-mph sinker right down the middle. And Cordero didn’t miss, hitting the ball hard just to the right of the second base bag. That ball had an exit velocity of 108.6 mph according to Statcast measurements.

Courtesy of Baseball Savant

After being stranded in the third inning, Cordero came up in the fifth inning for his third at bat of the game, once again following a base hit from Renfroe. This time, Cordero was first pitch hunting, as the young outfielder took an 88 mph sinker low and inside and struck it down the right field line. Cordero actually hit the ball so hard, 106.8 mph off the bat, that Renfroe was unable to score from first, robbing Cordero of his first major league RBI. However, Cordero would get the next best thing, as the very next batter, Chase d’Arnaud, brought both Renfroe and him home on a two-run single.

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Fresh off his first two major league hits, and his first major league run, Cordero came up to bat again in the seventh, once again following Renfroe, this time with one out and nobody on against right-hander Blake Treinen. After taking a first pitch slider over the plate, Cordero was nearly hit by a 97 mph sinker. Cordero then swung and missed at a changeup down and out of the zone before grounding out on a changeup at the bottom of the strike zone.

Courtesy of Baseball Savant

In his fifth and final at bat of the day, Cordero came to the plate with two outs following a Renfroe walk. After taking a low fastball just shy of 100 mph for a ball outside the zone, Cordero fouled off a 97 mph fastball from Enny Romero, with the ball coming off the bat at just over 98 mph. Cordero then took a 101 mph fastball up in the zone for ball two. With the count in his favor, Cordero swung and missed at a 100 mph fastball up in the zone. With the count 2-2, Cordero took a called strike on a fastball that was 100 mph and well out of the upper bound of the strike zone.

Courtesy of Baseball Savant

So all-in-all, Franchy Cordero picked up two hits, including a double, and a run scored in his first major league start. Beyond that, Cordero both held his own and did not look overmatched at the plate. It remains to be seen where the lefty goes from here, but there is certainly a lot to be encouraged about from this performance. The kid even got a Gregory Polanco comp from Mudcat Grant. Not a bad thing to hear.

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