Ryan Cordell Scouting Report: Ryan Cordell ranked #11 on the LSB Community Prospect Rankings.
In the days leading up to Opening Day, I'm going to offer write-ups on the 30 players who made the Rangers' LSB Community Prospect Rankings Top 32 list, and who didn't get traded. I've done this the last couple of years, and I don't want to re-invent the wheel, so some of this will be a repeat of what I've written before, particularly regarding draft history or performance pre-2014. Also, this is not based on my personal observations -- I'm not a scout, and haven't seen most of these guys. I'm just aggregating the numbers and what others say about these players.
So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at Ryan Cordell...
Ryan Cordell is a 6'4", 205 lb. outfielder who turns 23 right before the 2015 season will start. Cordell was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Liberty University. Cordell was ranked #196 in the Baseball America top 500 heading into the 2013 draft, with BA's pre-draft write-up praising his tools but saying he needed to make adjustments at the plate. Cordell signed for a $100,000 bonus -- the most a post-10th round pick can get without a team dipping into their bonus pool -- and went to Spokane in the short-season A Northwest League for the 2013 season, where he put up a .241/.322/.358 line in 262 plate appearances.
Cordell started the 2014 season in extended spring training, not being assigned to low-A Hickory until early May, and he wasn't really on anyone's radar screen when he got there. Cordell immediately started producing, however, and he and Evan Van Hoosier -- another prospect who joined Hickory in May -- have been credited with giving what was, at the time, a struggling team a big lift with their energy and leadership. Cordell played all three outfield positions, as well as first base, for Hickory, and put up a .321/.388/.504 line in 310 plate appearances for the Crawdads before earning a promotion to high-A Myrtle Beach in August. Cordell finished out the season in style, putting up a .306/.371/.645 line in 70 plate appearances in the Carolina League.
Cordell showed enough to end up at #10 in the Baseball America Rangers rankings (though he was #11 before Luis Sardinas got traded). Jamey Newberg had Cordell at #17 in the Rangers' system in his top 72 list, John Sickels had Cordell at #19, and Keith Law didn't have Cordell ranked among his top 15 players in the system.
Cordell gets praise for having solid average to above-average tools across the board...he can handle center field, although he's probably a better fit in a corner spot long-term, and his arm will play in right field. Cordell has speed (he was 21 for 25 stealing bases last season) and power, and the main question about him is whether he'll be able to hit enough against upper-level pitching.
Cordell's upside is as a solid everyday outfielder who does everything well without being great at any one thing, with a more realistic role perhaps being a fourth outfielder who can be pressed into every day duty if need be -- someone like David Murphy, for example.
I'm guessing Cordell will start the 2015 season in high-A High Desert, but it isn't completely out of the question that he could join Nick Williams and Nomar Mazara in the outfield for AA Frisco. If Cordell continues to progress, he's someone who could get a September, 2016, callup, and be in the mix for a major league role in 2017.