When Franchy Cordero makes contact, he can hit a baseball a long way. The first part of that sentence, however, has been a problem for the Boston Red Sox’s newest outfielder.
The Red Sox acquired the 26-year-old in a three-team trade with the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets that most notably sent Andrew Benintendi to K.C.
It doesn’t take a ton of digging before Cordero’s player profile comes into focus. He’s been apt to run into the long ball in his abbreviated big league appearances, with 12 of his 26 career extra-base hits landing in the seats. The swing is beautiful, but Cordero has nearly twice as many career strikeouts as he does hits. When he makes contact, he squares it up.
The Red Sox hope they can tap into something the Royals and Padres couldn’t, to help Cordero become an impact player.
Enter J.D. Martinez.
The Red Sox designated hitter loves the science of hitting, seemingly addicted to perfecting his own swing. Additionally, Martinez isn’t shy about lending swing advice to teammates who seek it out, and he’s already intrigued about Cordero.
“I kind of want to see Frenchy? Franchy? However you say it, Cordero?” Martinez told reporters Tuesday when asked about working with newcomers. “I think he’s got some really good talent, and he’s got a high swing-and-miss, but I think there might be some things I can pass down to him and maybe he could benefit from them.”
Once they get the name thing squared away, it is interesting to wonder what Martinez could do to help Cordero. Martinez said he hasn’t yet seen Cordero hit, but maybe the All-Star slugger can help Cordero unlock some things.
Martinez famously struggled early in his career with the Houston Astros. He ultimately changed his swing and approach, and the results — 208 home runs since the start of 2014 — speak for themselves.
It’s not a complete coincidence Mookie Betts’ career took off even further after Boston signed Martinez prior to the 2018 season.
“I have to give a big credit to J.D. Martinez,” Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers said a few years ago in a book titled “The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists Are Using Data To Build Better Players.”
Hyers continued: “When you have a superstar and you have a guy who’s already proven it, to come in and back what you’re saying and have those conversations one-on-one with players. … J.D. was huge on saying, ‘Hey Mookie, you can also do this part.’ And they had their own private conversations that helped a ton also.”
Martinez’s top priority is getting back on track after a brutal 2020 season. But if he can also help get the most out of Cordero, that will go a long way in further strengthening an already strong Red Sox lineup.