Everyone loves a good story. Start off with the introduction of the protagonist; mention certain above average qualities followed by the failings that should result in nothing special. It’s a tried and true fantasy trope — pig farmer anyone? — that I’ll try to map onto Jimmy Cordero.
Before proceeding, I am not a scout; nor do I pretend to be one. That is part of the reason I use the player index as a way to organize other writers’ / scouts’ thoughts and opinions. From those, I can begin to build stories about players and make my own judgments.
Cordero’s story begins in the Dominican Republic where he was signed by the Blue Jays as an international free agent in 2012 for an unknown signing bonus. BlueBird Banter’s MjwW, in March 2015, was one of the first to comment (in a free-to-access post) on Cordero: “really raw…lacking any real secondaries”. Kiley McDaniel followed up less than a week later in his annual post for FanGraphs noting that Cordero was “still working on his slider, command, and consistency.
Partway through the 2015 season, Ryan Mueller still noted that Cordero’s slider was subpar but was hitting upper eighties to go along with his triple digit fastball. While covering the Revere trade that brought Cordero (along with Alberto Tirado) to the Phillies, Bob Glover shines some of the first light on Cordero. Instead of mentioning the rawness, he comments on the transition from thrower to pitcher. This is about the time the protagonist generally discovers his true heritage, pulls a sword out of stone, or some other previously unheard of notion.
Just two months later, Matt Winkelman — covering Cordero from the Phillies perspective now — highlights Cordero’s fastball command (something missing earlier in the year); even more notably, though, is the lengthy, positive commentary on the slider: using it with command, missing both lefty and right bats, and even calling it a plus pitch currently with potential for plus-plus. Winkelman, though, is down on Cordero’s curveball while Jay Floyd references coaches liking the pitch. Both agree on improved command, fastball velocity, and slider potential.
Cordero hasn’t quite slain the dragon and rescued the princess, but he’s well on his way. While not necessarily an ordered list, Todd Zolecki, writing for MLB, lists Jimmy Cordero first as a candidate for the future Phillies closer job. Well-known prospector John-Sickels recently listed Cordero as a C+ prospect — not bad for a relief-only prospect. It’s a far cry from a kid who signed for presumably a small signing bonus and, statistically, played terribly in the DSL.
Note: See the player index entry for Jimmy Cordero for a convenient list of all articles mentioned here.