The New York Yankees have been trying to figure out their outfield alignment for the past few weeks since opening day. Veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks has been disregarded in some ways, and utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa has even enjoyed reps in centerfield on a few occasions.
However, none have performed better than Franchy Cordero as a depth piece, a player who historically hasn’t been a good MLB-level contributor but dominated the spring with the Baltimore Orioles.
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The Yankees are getting tremendous value from Franchy Cordero:
Cordero had enjoyed 227 total games at the MLB level with a career .222 average and .291 OBP, hitting 21 homers with 74 RBIs over that timeframe. Cordero hit .413 with a .426 OBP this spring, slapping two homers with nine RBIs and stole a base. He looks far better than his previous seasons, and the Yankees wanted to give him an opportunity to compete donning the pinstripes. Luckily for them, he may end up being a gem acquisition at cost, having directly contributed toward the team’s offensive success lately.
Cordero is hitting .300 with a .364 OBP and 1.064 OPS to start the year. His 193 wRC+ is one of the highest on the team, and he’s been a decent defensive player, which hasn’t been the case in the past. He has enjoyed all three games and 22 innings of defensive action in right field, posting one defensive run saved and sniping a runner trying to take a second base on a hit to the outfield.
The Yankees are waiting patiently for the return of Harrison Bader, which will ultimately push Cordero into a reserve role, but at the very least, they know he’s a competent lefty hitter that will offer more immediate support compared to Hicks and IKF, who have gotten on base just once between them.
General manager Brian Cashman prides himself on finding lowkey gems which can contribute to a World Series-caliber team, and while Cordero could crash back down to earth and revert to his career averages, he is playing exceptionally well for the Yankees right now, and they need to continue riding that hot hand.