Franchy Cordero’s power is as amazing as the story behind his name

Franchy Cordero hits a three-run homer against the Guardians on April 11, 2023.

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After an excellent game in Baltimore, Franchy Cordero was assured of a place in the Yankees lineup in Cleveland. In a pre-game press meet on Monday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone praised him saying his skills will keep him in the lineup for the foreseeable future.

A day later, Franchy Cordero’s ability was on full display, as his three-run homer propelled the Yankees to an 11-2 victory against the Guardians on Tuesday at Progressive Field. With 1.110 OPS and 10 RBI, the Dominican looks unstoppable in the pinstripes.

“He’s been big for us,” Boone said after the game. “He hits them like the big boys. He mis-hit that ball, and [it still] went out.”

Franchy Cordero’s home run was simply another day at the business for him, who has added much-needed depth to the Yankees’ lineup. The seven-year MLB veteran who has played for the Padres, Royals, and Red Sox, was released by the Orioles in March after failing to make their Opening Day roster. The Yankees pounced, signing Franchy Cordero to a one-year deal the day before Opening Day. Since then, he hasn’t stopped striking.

A left-handed bat seeking a career resurrection inks a contract with the Yankees seemingly out of nowhere, only to develop and quickly win over the fan base while getting more and more playing time. Franchy Cordero, like Matt Carpenter, was on the Yankees’ radar before being released from his last team’s minor-league contract. The Yankees were waiting in the wings, ready to pounce whenever the previously highly-ranked Padres prospect became available.

Franchy Cordero’s power

Franchy Cordero of the Yankees hitting a home run against the Orioles in Baltimore on April 9, 2023.
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In the third inning, Franchy Cordero took to task Guardians starter Hunter Gaddis in the third inning, hitting the first ball he saw at a Statcast-projected 368 feet into the right field bleachers to increase the Yankees’ lead to 6-2. That was his third home run in the last four games.

Franchy Cordero was a former top prospect with the Padres, and his power was always there (he had one of the hardest-hit home runs in Statcast history), but the toolsy outfielder never managed to put it together in either of his prior MLB appearances.

That hasn’t been the case in New York, where Franchy Cordero has been an important factor for the Yankees during the last two weeks. He’s made the most of his opportunities as a result of injuries to Harrison Bader.

“You never want injuries, obviously, but it creates an opportunity for some guys to carve out a role for themselves while guys are down,” Boone said. “It gives you a better idea of what you have going forward.”

Despite just appearing in six games this season, Franchy Cordero is batting .286 with three home runs and a team-high 10 RBIs. In 84 games with the Red Sox last season, he hit eight home runs and 29 RBIs.

Gerrit Cole has faced Franchy Cordero five times in the previous seasons. Although Cordero had only gotten one hit off Cole (a double), the pitcher was constantly aware of his power. Cole’s power came in handy on Tuesday, as Cordero’s home run complemented his solid start.

“He’s a good dude,” Cole said of Cordero. “Great vibes, plays hard, lays the wood. It’s been fun to watch.”

Franchy Cordero’s qualities have always been praised by teams. He achieves exceptional exit velocities. He is capable of playing all three outfield positions. His modest approach has fit quite nicely in the Yankees’ clubhouse. But Franchy Cordero hasn’t been able to do it consistently on offense during his career. He has hit .221 with 21 home runs and 253 strikeouts in 726 plate appearances across portions of six major-league seasons as of 2023.

Franchy Cordero’s efforts have been described as “amazing” by first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

“The home runs,” Rizzo said. “The power. The quality of the at-bats. When we have good at-bats up and down the lineup, good things usually happen.”

“His work’s been good,” Boone said. “He’s fit in right away and he’s been impactful. He’s taken advantage of some opportunities here and he’s done a good job.”

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The story behind his name

Franchy Cordero made history when he played his first MLB game in 2017. There has never been a player called Franchy before or after. It’s an interesting name with a surprisingly easy origin story.

Franchy Cordero’s father, Frank, worked as an automotive electrician in their hometown of Azua, Dominican Republic, some 60 miles west of the capital city of Santo Domingo. Frank Cordero loved baseball, and as he shared his passion for the game with his son, his home was constantly humming with relatives and friends.

“They all called him Frankie,” the younger Cordero told The Athletic.

Rather than just calling him Frankie Jr., his parents added a twist to the name. They chose Franchy. Why? Because it reminds him of Frankie, he said.

Franchy Cordero’s name is now in the minds of all Yankees fans. That’s because he keeps opponents slamming and has proved that he deserves more playing time.

Franchy Cordero wanted to prove himself

In the third inning, Franchy Cordero’s three-run home run pushed gave the Yankees an invincible lead against the Guardians. That was his third bomb of the season, continuing his hot start. He went 1-for-4 in the game.

The Orioles released the 28-year-old at the conclusion of spring training even though he hit .413 with two home runs. Franchy Cordero described the situation as “difficult” at the time.

Franchy Cordero did not remain jobless for long. The Yankees came calling fast, signing him to a one-year contract for $1 million in the majors and $180,000 in the minors. The Yankees lacked left-handed power, and their left-field rivalry between Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks failed to produce a clear winner. Franchy Cordero, with his incredible power (and high strikeout percentage), was going to have a chance to stay.

That is exactly what has occurred. Franchy Cordero has 286 hits in six games and a team-high ten RBIs.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Franchy Cordero said. “I’m very grateful to the organization, especially for making the team and being here in the big leagues. It’s a great opportunity and, like I said before, any chance you get, you want to contribute to the team.”

Although Franchy Cordero views it as a significant career opportunity, it also has emotional significance for him. He was a lifelong Yankees fan, who idolized Alex Rodriguez and used to play shortstop because he aspired to be like A-Rod. He was ecstatic when the Yankees were interested in signing him last summer and leaped at the opportunity when the Yankees contacted again at the end of March.

The breaking out in pinstripes

Franchy Cordero’s home run was his third in his past four games, all of which had at least one runner on base. He leads the Yankees with 10 RBIs after just being in the club since Opening Day and made his sixth start on Tuesday.

Franchy Cordero, a role-playing outfielder who has surpassed expectations through the first nine games of the season, has been a revelation in pinstripes. While it is a small sample size, Cordero is hitting .357 in four games (5-for-14). He’s hit two home runs this season, both against his former club. With seven runs batted in, the Dominican has tied for the team lead with home run king Aaron Judge. In 15 plate appearances, he has a 1.257 OPS.

Franchy Cordero’s defense has also been superb. Nobody expects the former Red Sox outfielder to win a Gold Glove Award, but he’s made a couple of plays, which contradicts scouting assessments and previous defensive stats that surfaced before he signed with the Yankees on March 29.

“He’s been big-time, a big power bat for us,” Judge said after Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Orioles. “He’s doing all of the little things for us. I’m excited to see what he can do for us this season.”

Franchy Cordero had his first multi-hit game with the Yankees on Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and a crisp single to right field. He isn’t quite a folk hero yet, but the scenario is giving off significant Matt Carpenter overtones.

His track record indicates that his high strikeout rate will catch up to him, and the gaps in his huge swing will overshadow the exit velocity and power potential. But maybe he’s still working out how to bring it all together. If he keeps this up, Franchy Cordero’s distinct name will be tough to overlook.

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