The San Diego Padres have a waiting list right now for starting outfield positions at Petco Park.
Among the outfielders waiting for an opportunity this past offseason was 24-year-old Franchy Cordero. One of the more athletic players you will find in organized baseball at any level, he is a stat-cast darling and one of a six-pack of outfielders that are still figuring out their roles at the major league level.
Here is Cordero’s PNO (Positives/Negatives/Outlook) as we continue to go through the entire Padres roster:
Franchy is listed at 6-foot-3, 175 lbs. and packs quite a punch in that frame. Even in an abbreviated injury season, he showcased some of the prodigious power he possesses in his bat. He was 7th in Major League Baseball in average exit velocity between Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman. He was also responsible for the second longest home run in the big leagues in 2018 at 489 ft. against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. The home run ricocheted halfway up the center field scoreboard.
This could have easily fit into the above-mentioned category. It’s his athleticism that gives him a distinct advantage over other corner outfield power bats that are on the roster. It gives him the ability to play up the middle in center. His long strides give him the ability to overcome some circuitous routes sometimes. When in full gallop, his gait and stride remind one of Mike Cameron, who never looked like he was running fast yet covered so much territory. He’s got the arm to play right field, yet the wheels to cover an expansive center field at Petco.
From his first 99 AB introduction to the league in 2017 to his injury-shortened year in 2018, he showed the ability to increase his walk rate and reduce his K% rate. Adjustments by young players are good indicators of future success. In small sample sizes, he increased his BB% from ’17 to ’18 to the tune of the 6.1% versus 9.1%. His K rate also dropped from 44.4% to 35.7%.
It sounds silly, but Franchy, as mentioned above, consistently hits the ball harder than only a handful of his major league brethren. But he also possessed the lowest launch angle percentage of anyone in the top 10 at 5.6 degrees. His ability to get more loft in his swing will allow his power to play more in games and will help to unlock even more power in his game. As an example, the major league average in 2016 was 11.5 degrees.
In small sample sizes, he has shown positive direction in his patience at the plate and the ability to make adjustments. The thing is that pitchers will continue to adjust to him and he will need to bring his K% down from his 2018 tally of 35.7% if he wants to be a starter. Even something in the upper twenties would be acceptable with the number of tools he brings to the table and ways he can impact a game without the bat. Doing this while maintaining or increasing his BB% will be key and once again will promote his plus power tool. Better selectivity will allow Franchy to get better pitches in the zone that he can hit with authority, as we’ve discovered he does quite well.
After landing on the disabled list in May with a bone spur in his right elbow, he and team opted for him to have surgery to remove it, which cost him the rest of the ’18 season. Anytime a player misses that large amount of a season, there is always a little bit of trepidation until you see him on the major league field again. On the bright side, he is currently playing winter ball and is looking healthy (fingers crossed).
Franchy is an incredibly gifted athlete who, hopefully in a full season of 500-600 AB’s, can show what he is capable of on the diamond. He has been an overflowing volcano of tools since he signed at 16, but it is time for tools to turn into production in ’19 if he wants to be part of the “lava” moving into the future.