Meet Franchy Cordero. He’s a 26-year-old former Kansas City Royals outfielder who was returned as a key asset to the Boston Red Rox in order to land Andrew Benintendi. The Kansas City trade for Benintendi was seen as an aggressive play, forcing the Royals to give up one of their highly-touted prospects in Cordero.
According to Cordero’s former front-office in Kansas City, this team still feels very highly of him. One of his former executives, assistant general manager J.J. Picollo, went as far as comparing the young power-hitting outfielder to one of the greatest players in Boston history. That’s “Big Papi” David Ortiz.
Royals executive compares Franchy Cordero to Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz
Two top Royals executives remain high on Franchy Cordero even though they traded him to the Red Sox. One even dropped a… David Ortiz comp.https://t.co/n7STvfDI2O
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 15, 2021
In all honesty, this comparison is wildly unfair to both parties. Ortiz is one of the most feared sluggers of all-time. While the potential future MLB Hall of Famer also got off to a slow start in his career, he called it quits after 20 years of slugging more than 540 home runs. The 10-time All-Star led the Red Sox to three World Series titles while seemingly destroying archrival New York Yankees pitching every step of the way.
Cordero, on the other hand, has been plagued by injuries throughout his short four-year MLB career. The young outfielder has played only 95 games throughout these four years, notching just 12 home runs in 300-plus plate appearances.
As the 26-year-old Cordero heads to his new home in Boston, this adds an incredible sense of pressure. Perhaps, Picollo feels that the Royals got over with an incredible deal to land Benintendi. If he feels this way, it’s possible this is just some good PR tactics to dissuade any ideas that the Royals stole Benintendi away from Boston for next to nothing. Of course, there may be some truth behind this comparison.
Both Cordero and Ortiz, at this young point of their respective careers, were lauded for their ability to mash home runs. Both are left-handed hitters with incredible power. Cordero and Ortiz both hail from the Dominican Republic and possess similar body sizes, at 6-foot-3 and around 230 pounds of muscle. Ortiz made his MLB debut back in 1997 when he was a few months shy of 22-years-old. Cordero debuted back in May of 2017 at 22-years-old.
Big Papi spent his penultimate season with the Minnesota Twins at the age of 26. During that 2001 campaign, he set a then career-high mark of 18 home runs while only appearing in 89 games. This was one year shy of the start of Big Papi’s 15-year run of hitting at least 20 home runs every year, highlighted by seven seasons in which his home run mark eclipsed 35.
Cordero possesses more athleticism than Ortiz, seen by his defensive work in the outfield. Of course, it’s possible based simply on his body size, that Cordero could find himself as a permanent DH later in his career. This certainly allowed Ortiz to extend his career, playing until he was 41-years-old.
Fortunately for Cordero, some of his advanced hitting metrics match what Ortiz was able to do before he turned 26-years-old. In his four seasons, Cordero owns a 3.8 home run percentage, 34.9 strikeout percentage, 8.9 walk percentage, and 8.9 extra-base hit percentage. By comparison, when Ortiz was 26-years-old, his marks in those categories include a 2.4 home run percentage, 28.8 strikeout percentage, 11.7 walk percentage, and 7.3 extra-base hit percentage.
Ortiz did a better job of getting on base and limiting strikeouts during the early part of his career, but both players hit home runs and extra-base hits at similar paces. It’s a lofty comparison when you throw together a mostly unproven prospect and one of the most feared sluggers of all-time, but Boston Red Sox fans will be just fine if Cordero’s career pans out in any fashion close to Big Papi’s.