When I was thinking of players who would be interesting to talk about, outfielder Franchy Cordero was one of the first ones that sprang into my mind.
Although Cordero has been in the Padres organization since 2012, he has sort of flown under the radar for a good number of those years.
Originally signed as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 at the age of 17, Cordero has had a bit of a rough go of it when it comes to achieving prospect status.
In his first season of professional baseball in America, Cordero had a strong showing in Rookie Ball. In 35 games for the Padres rookie league AZL Padres, Cordero slashed .333/.381/.511 with three home runs and eleven stolen bases, demonstrating his ability to do it all on the diamond.
Cordero started off the 2014 season strong with the Padres short season affiliate before stumbling in low-A with the Fort Wayne TinCaps. To finish the season in 2014, Cordero slashed only .188/.237/.235 in just shy of 100 at bats. For a player who had excelled in his first taste of professional baseball, this was an unwelcome setback.
After struggling through another year in 2015 with the TinCaps, Cordero finally fulfilled his prospect status in 2016. After starting the season in High-A ball with the Lake Elsinore Storm, Cordero made his way all the way to Triple-A prior to the completion of the season.
This rise through the system was highlighted by a .307/.358/.473 slash line with the Double-A San Antonio Missions. Cordero was so good with the Missions that he earned a late season promotion to the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas. Cordero struggled in just 11 at bats in El Paso at the end of the year, but he did more than enough to put himself back on the prospect radar for 2017 and beyond. Below is a video of Cordero during his stint in the Arizona Fall League after last season.
With the trio of Alex Dickerson, Hunter Renfroe, and Manuel Margot all likely to be in the big leagues to stay for a majority of 2017, Cordero more or less has a lock on a starting outfield job in Triple-A to start the season. If he can repeat his 2016 success, he may find himself in the Padres major league outfield sooner rather than later, even with a bit of a log jam at the big league level.
At best, Cordero looks to be a similar player to Travis Jankowski, although he trades a little bit of speed for a little more power at the plate. For the Padres, that is still a valuable player, even with the likes of Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe at the big league level. Cordero may have taken a little longer to put it all together, but he could still be one of the most interesting Padres prospects to watch in 2017.