Going into the 2017 season, many expected the Padres outfield to consist of some combination of Travis Jankowski, Alex Dickerson, Manuel Margot, and Hunter Renfroe. With just over two months of the season played, only one of those players remains on the field.
Alex Dickerson was the first to go down with an injury, as the outfielder was initially sidelined with back pain that ended up being a bulging disk. He is slated to return to the fold at some point in mid-to-late June. Travis Jankowski was the next to go down with injury, as he suffered a right foot fracture that is set to sideline him until the end of June at the least. This week the Padres experienced yet another outfield injury, as Manuel Margot exited the Padres May 24 game early with right calf soreness before being placed on the disabled list this morning. With three outfielders down to injury, the Padres have elected to call up 22-year-old outfielder Franchy Cordero from the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas.
Franchy Cordero has had a bit of a tumultuous professional career to say the least. After somewhat disastrous showings in Fort Wayne in both 2014 and 2015, Cordero was given a shot to prove himself at High-A with the Lake Elsinore Storm to start the 2016 season. He did not disappoint. Despite striking out in more than 25 percent of his at bats, Cordero still slashed .290/.342/.448 over 297 at bats before a promotion to Double-A San Antonio, where he finished the year with an even better .307/.358/.473 slash line in 241 at bats. Even more important for Cordero was his transition from shortstop to outfield, where he excelled after showing he was not capable of playing at shortstop long term. Cordero struggled a bit in a handful of at bats to end the season at Triple-A, but he did more than enough to show the kind of potential he has.
Rather than return Cordero to Double-A to start the 2017 season, the Padres brass showed faith in the young outfielder and left him at Triple-A to start the season. So far this season, that has looked like a great decision, as Cordero has slashed .289/.349/.520 over his first 173 at bats. The strikeout rate has risen to over 30 percent, but Cordero has unlocked more game power, already collecting 19 extra base hits on the young season.
In a lot of ways, Cordero is somewhat similar to Travis Jankowski, a defense first player with some potential at the plate. However, where Jankowski has more speed and less offensive upside, Cordero has slightly less speed but more offensive upside, especially in the power department. Cordero is considered an above average defender with an above average arm and a good amount of speed. His biggest challenge at the next level will be hitting enough to be more than a fourth outfielder, fill-in type player.
It’s apparent that Cordero is only a short term call up, as the trio of Margot, Dickerson, and Jankowski could all be back on the roster within the next month or so, with Margot and Dickerson being closer than Jank. With that being said, Cordero should have at least a week here to show what he is capable of long term. If things go well, Cordero very well could play himself into more playing time either immediately, or later on this season. Until then, we should expect Cordero to get some decent playing time over the next seven or eight days.