Every season the Texas Rangers seem to have multiple prospects making national headlines. This season has been no different with Nomar Mazara cracking the bigs, Joey Gallo improving his strikeout rate in Triple-A and Lewis Brinson manning center in Double-A.
But a name not many know (yet) is that of Ryan Cordell.
Cordell, who I talked about here in my Frisco RoughRiders Media Day coverage, is a utility player turned outfielder. After playing every position but catcher and second base in his professional career, the 24-year old has settled into the outfield. With nine games in right and six in center and left, he’s certainly showing he belongs out there.
Especially with plays like this.
His glove and arm continue to impress, but it’s been his top tool—his bat—that has started to make Ryan Cordell more than just a top Rangers prospect, but a top prospect in Major League Baseball.
Through 22 games—in which the righty has reached base in every single one including hits in all but one contest—his numbers are off the charts.
With a transcendent slash line of .357/.391/.702 (!!!), he hit six home runs (he had five last season in 56 Double-AA games) as well as 23 RBI (compared to 18 last year). His OPS is 1.094. I realize it’s early but to put that insane figure in perspective Hall of Fame legend Tony Gwynn‘s career high OPS was 1.022 in 1994.
Cordell was named Texas League Player of the Week for the week of April 18–24. On Monday he was given another award, Texas League Player of the Month for April.
I caught up with the budding star recently to talk about his incredible start to the 2016 season.
Q: What do you attribute your hot start to?
Just being able to be focused day in and day out. Really haven’t done anything mechanically, just trying to stay focused and not give away at bats. Each day I show up to the park is a new day no matter how good or bad I did the day before. That’s the mindset that I’ve taken this year and I’m going to try and continue to do that.
Q: Does the familiarity with Frisco and the Double-A level help?
It’s nice to be around a group of guys and coaching staff that I know and have played with in the past. Frisco is obviously a great place to play but it’s mental more than physical. Definitely just having that confidence and getting my early work in the cage in and staying focused during the game.
Q: Has the Spring Training invite had any affect?
It was obviously great experience to see the way those guys go about their business, the way they do things. I tried to watch them as much as I could and take bits of pieces of what they did and implement it into my game and my routine prior to games. It was just a great experience and gave me a bit of confidence going into this year knowing that I was able do well at that level.
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You’re around all the guys every day. My locker was right next to Adrian Beltre. They’ve got a really fun, relaxed atmosphere in the Rangers big league clubhouse so it was cool to see how they did things and we’ve kind of been able to carry that into this year and our hot start.
Q: What’s it like playing with this group of guys?
It’s great. We all know each other pretty well, we played with each other at different times so we have that familiarity and that camaraderie. It’s been a really relaxed and fun atmosphere and we’ve tried to keep it that way and it’s showing on the field. We’re just clicking on all cylinders and that definitely starts with the atmosphere in the clubhouse.
As this interview took place April 29 and Cordell had already been named Texas League Player of the Week but not Texas League player of the Month, I asked him about getting that recognition.
It definitely means a lot. It shows that I’m doing well and I try and take the mindset when I go out on the field to be the best guy out their every night. That’s what I want to do. It shows that I was able to do that and play well so it feels great. But I wouldn’t be able to do that, get the RBIs, if my teammates weren’t getting on base and we weren’t playing really well so I’ve got to contribute that to my team and how well we’re playing right now as a team.
Ryan Cordell, you’ll know his name.