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Jimmy Cordero Working on Command

Strikes out batters with his 101 MPH fastball

Jimmy Cordero Working on Command

September 22, 2014

Jimmy Cordero uses his 100+ MPH fastball to strikeout batters. (Justin Rinaldi/Flickr)

Jimmy Cordero uses his 100+ MPH fastball to strikeout batters. (Justin Rinaldi/Flickr)

Baseball fanatics love the art of pitching. They revel in watching pitchers mix up looks and speeds as pitchers paint the corners of the plate like an artist making the final brushstroke on their masterpiece. One aspect most baseball fans agree on is they crave seeing a devastating fastball, which helps their favorite pitchers get ahead in counts early.

Those fans need to get acquainted with Blue Jays minor leaguer Jimmy Cordero, who has arguably the best fastball in the system and the entire organization as a whole. The right-hander is proud of the fact that he has official readings of 101 miles per hour from 2013.

“My fastball hit 101 mph in 2013. At that point that was the highest I had ever hit,” explained Cordero. “Throwing that hard feels good. I’ve really learned how to command my fastball well and I’m really happy with my velocity.”

The velocity didn’t go down in 2014, as Cordero was consistently hitting 99 and higher as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts. As expected with his velocity, Cordero was tough on Midwest League hitters, striking out 34 batters in his 32 1/3 innings of work.

Like many hard throwers, one area of concern is command. The 22-year-old pitcher walked 21 batters and hit four others. Although one would like to see Cordero lower his walk totals in the upcoming seasons, the free passes didn’t hurt him much in Lansing as he maintained a 3.06 ERA despite a 1.732 WHIP.

Helping with Cordero’s command all season, pitching coach Vince Horsman was satisfied with the progress the young right-hander made from April to September.

“With Jimmy it was a matter of getting him out on the mound and being aggressive,” explained Horsman. “A big thing with Jimmy was the fact that he was leaving his fastball high earlier in the season. It was important for Jimmy to understand the importance of locating his pitches. I told him it was great you can throw hard, but if you’re not hitting your spots, it’s not helping you.”

“You could see the difference in his outings,” Horsman added. “When he went to the mound and followed the advice I gave him his outings were very good. When he didn’t follow my advice, hitters hit him well. Both kinds of outings have helped Jimmy a lot as they both serve as learning lessons.”

Even though most Blue Jays enthusiasts know Cordero for his fastball, he’s proud to say that he has four other pitches in his repertoire that he uses at different points of the game, so he doesn’t become complacent.

“I also use a curveball, changeup, sinker, and cutter,” said Cordero. “I try to use them every outing to mix up my speeds and keep hitters off-balance.”

Obviously, being complacent is the last thing Cordero wants and he’s done a great job moving up the levels since being signed as an international free agent in 2011. Since joining the Blue Jays organization, Cordero has pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2012, the Gulf Coast League and the Appalachian League in 2013, and then the Midwest League in 2014. Cordero made the biggest jump on the Lansing Lugnuts, as he pitched only one game in Bluefield last season before an excellent spring training help land him in Lansing.

Discussing his professional career in detail, Cordero is excited for every opportunity he has been given and what’s still in store for him in the future.

“Signing with Toronto was a happy moment. It gave me an opportunity to do what I like to do which is play baseball,” Cordero said, smiling. “Getting an opportunity in professional baseball was great, because it presented me with a great opportunity to do something good with my life.”

“Last season I was called up to Bluefield the final week of the year and it was great because I played my first night game. My game in Bluefield was also my first game in front of fans,” said Cordero. “This season I got an opportunity to come to Lansing which was awesome. The town is really pretty. Lansing is the furthest north I have been in my life. Earlier in the year it was cold, but once it warmed up I had a great time with my teammates. The stadium and facilities in Lansing are great. I only heard good things about Lansing before I came here and I’m glad I had the opportunity to live it myself.”

Enjoying everything Lansing had to offer, Cordero was particularly excited to work with pitching coach Vince Horsman, who he found both helpful and informative.

“Working with Horsman was a really good experience,” stated Cordero. “He’s a pitching coach that really knows a lot about the game. He tells us every day to use all of our pitches and I feel my pitches are getting better working with Vince. He’s been really good for my development.”

With the 2014 season in the books, Cordero is focused on his off-season routine which includes a lot of working out and playing the game he loves with Escogido in the Dominican winter league. This season will be Cordero’s first season in winter ball and he’s really looking forward to it.

“In the off-season I continue to work hard. I stay busy with workouts to stay in shape,” stated Cordero. “Playing winter ball was something I was aiming for and I’m very excited to get an opportunity to play professional baseball in my home country.”

It is common for pitchers with powerful arms like Cordero’s to have issues commanding their fastball and often learn control later than other pitchers with different styles. If this young pitcher can continue to improve his command, limiting walks and staying down in the zone, he will find himself advancing through the Blue Jays farm system in short measure.

Be sure to keep your eye on Jimmy Cordero, as he continues to blow hitters away with his devastating fastball for years to come.