The Chicago White Sox reportedly acquired 25 year-old right-handed hitting OF Ryan Cordell from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RHP Anthony Swarzak. Cordell is 6’4 195 pounds and was drafted in the 11th round of the 2013 First Year Player Draft by the Texas Rangers. At Triple-A Colorado Springs, he was sporting a gaudy line of .284/.349/.506 in 68 games, but beware of PCL inflation. He has 10 homers to go with a .wOBA of .366 and a 116 wRC+ in 68 games played. Cordell went to Milwaukee in the Jonathan Lucroy trade as a Player to be Named Later. Colorado Springs is very hitter friendly, and Cordell has an OPS of 1.059 at Security Service Field and just a .673 OPS on the road. He’s also currently on the disabled list with a back issue.
MLBpipeline.com had Cordell rated as the #17 prospect in the Brewers organization. They give him the following future grades: Hit 45/Power 55/Run 60/Arm 55/Field 55. They note that he hit very well in his first two seasons in the Rangers organization, racking up 31 homers and 41 stolen bases over that span. Cordell “stood out for his athleticism and tools” and has the bat speed and strength to hit for power from the right side. He struggles to control the strike zone and has swing and miss tendencies though. They also note that he has plus speed and call him an “efficient base-stealer”. Cordell played 6 positions while in the Texas organization but the Brewers played him exclusively in the outfield. MLB Pipeline believes that he is rangy enough to stick in CF but he profiles as an “ideal 4th OF”.
Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs listed Cordell as the #12 prospect in the Brewers system in his pre-season list. Longenhagen surmised that Cordell has a chance to be a second-division regular while acknowledging that he was old for his present level. He stated that, “the adjustments he’s made are substantive and encouraging considering the likelihood that he and his long levers will need to make more of them down the line”. He also said, “though none of them project to be especially loud, Cordell is closer to a five-tool player than many of the prospects gilded with such a title”.
Some other baseball writers and scouts weighed in on the White Sox latest trade return:
Ryan Cordell, who’s headed to the White Sox for Anthony Swarzak, an under-the-radar favorite for a lot of scouts. Big-league-ready-now guy.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 25, 2017
The fear with Ryan Cordell: No true standout tool. One scout just texted: “Fairly ordinary across the board.” Sees him as a 4th OF type.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 25, 2017
I like Ryan Cordell. Above-average tools with his run, field and throw, and there’s some power in the bat, too.
— Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB) July 25, 2017
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 26, 2017
Anthony Swarzak was signed prior to spring training as a Non-Roster Invitee. The 31 year-old right-handed reliever went on to post career numbers for the Pale Hose. With the White Sox, Swarzak posted a 4-3 record and averaged 9.8 K/9 and 2.42 BB/9 in 48.1 innings. He had a 2.23 ERA to go along with a FIP of 2.34 and has accumulated a sparkling 1.7 fWAR to this point. He’s throwing harder than he ever has and he was having his best season in the big leagues to date. He now gets to join a pennant race and pitch meaningful innings for an upstart Milwaukee Brewers club.
As for the White Sox, they appear to have obtained value for a guy that they paid $900K as a non-roster invite to spring training. These are exactly the types of moves that rebuilding franchises should be making. Cordell should enter the back of the White Sox top 30 prospect list for most publications upon arrival. As Travis Sawchick writes here, this is a solid return for a rental reliever.
Here is video of Cordell hitting a Monster Home Run courtesy of milb.com:
Here’s video of the swing and Cordell stealing a base:
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