When the New York Yankees scooped up lefty slugger Matt Carpenter off the Texas Rangers Triple-A affiliate in 2022, they didn’t expect them to be such an impact player at the MLB level.
Carpenter had struggled the previous two seasons, slugging just seven homers across 180 games. However, he went on a road trip to rediscover his swing the off-season prior, which catapulted him toward success.
Carpenter became an instant fan favorite, hitting 15 homers with 37 RBIs across 47 games. He hosted a .305 batting average with a .412 OBP before suffering a fractured foot on a foul ball, nearly ending his season prematurely. He enjoyed a few plate appearances during the postseason with the Bombers but was unable to get anything going having missed a significant amount of time and losing his rhythm. However, his success landed him with a San Diego Padres on a two-year, $12M deal.
The Yankees had other fish to fry, letting Carp walk:
Yankees weren’t going to pay him that much coming off such a small sample size of success, but they may have found themselves a perfect supplement with spring training star, Franchy Cordero.
Cordero experienced a tremendous spring stat line, hitting .413 with a .426 OBP, smacking two homers with nine RBIs across just 18 games. Franchy has had successful spring performances before, but they have never translated to regular-season success. His best professional campaign was back in 2018 when he played just 40 games and hit .237 with a .307 OBP.
Across seven games with the Yankees this season, he’s hitting .280 with a .333 OBP, logging a 204 wRC+ and a 0.5 WAR. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how often Cordero gets on base as long as he’s hitting homers at this pace. He’s already slapped four long balls with 11 RBIs, meaning he’s hit a homer in more than 50% of his games. Of course, that is an unsustainable pace, but the Yankees have been getting incredible value from his bat and what manager Aaron Boone calls “easy power.”
With outfield problems regarding Aaron Hicks’ consistency, Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s services needed elsewhere, and Harrison Bader‘s oblique injury, Cordero has stepped up and offered offensive production in a tough spot. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he played on a daily basis leading up to Bader’s eventual return, especially with DJ LeMahieu battling a newfound injury and Gleyber Torres fending off a groin issue.