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Franchy Cordero Back On The Radar



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Franchy Cordero (Photo by Bill MItchell)[/caption]

SAN DIEGO—Center fielder Franchy Cordero, no longer challenged by having to play shortstop, produced a career-best season last year that restored some lost luster to his profile.

Cordero originally signed for $175,000 as a 17-year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. He ranked among the system’s top prospects as a power-hitting-yet-error-prone infielder, but his bat initially fell flat in full-season ball.

Cordero restored his prospect status in a big way in 2016 by batting .290/.344/.450 with 11 home runs in 137 games between high Class A Lake Elsinore, Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso.

The 22-year-old appeared in the Double-A Texas League for the first time and compiled an .834 OPS in 59 games.

Early in his career, Cordero had flashed a powerful bat for a shortstop but was plagued by errors and strikeouts.

He alternated between shortstop and the outfield. Last year, freed from shortstop, where he sports an poor .830 fielding percentage for his career, he spent all season in the outfield, primarily in center.

The 6-foot-3, lefthanded-hitting Cordero laced 24 doubles, 16 triples and stole 23 bases in 37 attempts last season in a well-rounded campaign.

Cordero still has flaws. He remains error-prone—he committed 11 even as an outfielder—and struck out 26 percent of the time.

But in November the Padres added Cordero to the 40-man roster to shield him from the Rule 5 draft. This despite a poor showing in the Arizona Fall League.

"He’s a super athlete,” farm director Sam Geaney said. "Great mover. Has always had great offensive potential. He really began to show signs of taking a step forward (last) year.

"Perhaps finding a new defensive home has freed him up a bit.”

FATHER FIGURES

The Padres continue to add former top prospects to fill out their pitching staff. They claimed 24-year-old righthander Tyrell Jenkins on waivers from the Reds on Jan. 3, less than a month after claiming 25-year-old righthander Zach Lee from the Mariners. Both have major league experience.

The Padres signed four international lefthanders in recent weeks. Venezuelans Jose Garcia and Jorge Guerra and Cuban Ramon Perez signed just before the new year and Dominican Brayan Rosario signed on Jan. 17.

Andrew Benintendi Tomdipace

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— Tom Krasovic is a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune

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