Closing Time: Here comes Franchy Cordero

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/10710/" data-ylk="slk:Franchy Cordero">Franchy Cordero</a> (33) and <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9102/" data-ylk="slk:Cory Spangenberg">Cory Spangenberg</a> (15) take practice swings prior to a spring training baseball game last month (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Franchy Cordero (33) and Cory Spangenberg (15) take practice swings prior to a spring training baseball game last month (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

If you like category juice, you’re probably going to like Franchy Cordero. Is he finally ready for his close up in San Diego?

Cordero’s profile took a big step forward last summer. He posted a monster .326/.369/.603 slash at Triple-A El Paso, with 17 homers and 15 steals over 93 games. Sure, it’s the Pacific Coast League, but they don’t hand out stats like that at the airport. Cordero also had 18 triples.

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He struggled with his first Padres audition — a .228/.276/.424 slash over 92 at-bats, with three home runs. But not everyone hits the ground running in their first chance, and Cordero was just 22. Maybe things will pop this year.

Cordero started 2018 in the minors, in part because he had a groin injury this spring. He ripped seven hits in 17 Triple-A at-bats, and is now headed back to the Padres. The team has a glaring hole in the outfield, with Wil Myers (triceps) and Manuel Margot (ribs) on the disabled list.

Cordero is just about universally free in Yahoo, owned in a mere one percent of leagues. It’s time to consider entry on the ground level. Let’s see where this story goes.

• While you’re shopping in San Diego, perhaps give lefty Joey Lucchesi a look. Lucchesi earned the Behrens seal of approval before his March 30 debut, and although that turn wasn’t great, he’s struck out 15 batters in his last two starts. He posted six bagels in Colorado, of all places, Tuesday night, grabbing a victory in the process.

Add it up and Lucchesi has a 1.72 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, and 16 Ks against just four walks over 15.2 innings. He’s at home against the Giants on Sunday.

Asdrubal Cabrera was a big deal in his Cleveland days. Remember his 25-homer, 17-steal season back in 2011? He’s downshifted into boring veteran status in his 30s, and he’s bounced around a bit. The Nats had him for part of 2014. He spent a year with the Siberia Tampa Bay Rays in 2015. He’s now entering his third year with the Mets.

New York is off to a blistering 9-1 start, with Cabrera a big factor in Tuesday’s victory (two homers). He’s carrying a .341/.400/.534 slash; obviously unsustainable, but he did bat .280 in each of the last two years. He hit 23 homers as recently as 2016, and he qualifies at three infield positions. Sounds like someone who should be owned in more than 44 percent of Yahoo leagues.

• When the Red Sox said Xander Bogaerts (ankle) would be out a mere 10-14 days, I was instantly suspicious. Teams are notorious for being overly optimistic with these types of timetables. But maybe the small fracture in Bogie’s left ankle isn’t that big of a deal. He’s already shed his walking boot and is aiming for a return this month. Bogaerts was off to a ridiculous start, with a .368/.400/.711 slash and nine extra-base hits (seven doubles, two homers).

No one took Hanley Ramirez seriously when he talked about a 30-30 season, but he’s backed up the talk thus far: three steals, along with a .359/.395/.487 slash. Just one homer to this point, but the No. 3 spot in the Boston order is perfect for run production. Hanley has 11 RBIs and six runs through nine games.

• We’ve already had a lot of Tim Anderson talk, so this is going to be a brief note on the way out.

When Anderson wants a bag, he takes it. He’s 31-for-34 for his career, and he went 15-for-16 last year. He’s always had the upside for a monster-steal season, it’s just getting the green light and wanting to do it.

Maybe this is the year he wants to do it. Anderson grabbed Bag No. 6 in Tuesday’s game — a steal of third while the White Sox were down five runs. This is the sort of aggressiveness we’re thrilled to see.

Anderson’s batting-average risk has generally been an overplayed card — he’s hitting .263 this year, .268 for his career. That’s not going to hurt you in the shape of today’s game. And if his lack of walks turned you off (and ramped up the average fear), note that he’s already collected four walks in 2018 after a mere 13 last year.

This is a 24-year-old player with a first-round pedigree. Sometimes young players improve, talented players put things together. It could be a fun summer on the South Side of Chicago.

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