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Chad Cordero's Vitals
Right-handed relief pitcher, 23, 6-0, 195. Career 8-3, ERA 2.79, 15 Saves in two seasons.
He grabbed on to the team's closer role last June and everyone is hoping that he doesn't let go of it for the next several years.
This guy could be something special.
Cordero has excellent command of his fastball and he's able to use it effectively to set up his out pitch, the slider. Right handers batted .205 against him last year, able to do little against his fastball other than foul it off. He was incredible in September, posting an ERA of 0.60 in 11 appearances, fanning 16 batters and allowing just 12 hits in 15 innings.
He's a promising piece of work, but he's still a work in progress. Last year he gave up eight home runs, far more than you like to see from your closer. Many of them came when he lost his fastball up in the zone trying to set up the slider. That finesse and touch should come with experience.
Even after Cordero became the closer, Frank Robinson wasn't afraid to use him on roles other than that of the traditional closer. He pitched two or more innings on 15 occasions, including a three-inning stint where he emerged with the win in a 14-inning game against the Phillies. Cordero also made numerous appearances when the Expos were behind. Given the paucity of save opportunities for the Expos last year, Cordero would have collected a lot of rust in between those appearances, so it made sense for Robinson to give him the work.
Should he repeat, let alone improve, on his 2004 performance, the team—which should have a real owner in place in the fall—should look seriously at locking him up for the rest of the decade.
2005 Down and Up
Downside: 3-6, 25 SV, 3.75 ERA
Upside: 6-4, 38 SV, 2.35 ERA
To find Chad Cordero's career stats on Baseball-Reference.com, go to http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/cordech01.shtml
To find previous player profiles in the "Who Are These Guys?" series introducing you to your new Washington Nationals, visit the Capitol Dugout home page at CapitolDugout.com and search for "Nationals".