ERIK CORDIER
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: February 25, 1986
Height:
6’4″
Weight: 230
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 2nd round, 63rd overall, 2004 (Royals)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: Southern Door HS, Brussels, WI
Agent: Rob Martin, Icon Sports Management

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Cordier was considered to have three potential plus pitches when the Royals drafted him:  a 90-92 mph fastball, and a potentially good curve and change.  By 2006 he was sitting at 92-95 and topping out at 98.  The early stages of his career were plagued by injuries that caused him to miss two full seasons and parts of two others in his first four years.  Still, Baseball America consistently placed him on top prospect lists.  He ranked between 15th and 23rd for either the Royals or Braves every year from 2004 to 2007, then 13th and 26th for the Braves in 2010 and 2011.  Cordier finally seemed to get healthy and make real progress in 2010, but he continued to suffer from injuries in 2011-12.  When he’s been able to pitch, he’s continued throwing in the mid-90s.  He seems to be more or less equally ineffective against left-handed and right-handed batters.  He became a free agent after the Braves removed him from their 40-man roster and the Pirates signed him to a minor league deal.

2004
R:  2-4-0, 5.19 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 34.2 IP, 5.5 BB/9, 5.7 K/9

In what was to become a career-long pattern, Cordier struggled with his control while making 11 starts in rookie ball.

2005
Did not play

Following knee surgery in September 2004, Cordier missed the entire 2005 season.

2006
R+:  1-0-0, 3.38 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 16.0 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 10.7 K/9
A:  3-1-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 36.2 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 5.6 K/9

Cordier returned in June and showed considerable improvement over the next two months.  He had to be shut down due to elbow problems, though, and had Tommy John surgery after the season.

2007
Did not play

The Royals traded Cordier to Atlanta at the beginning of the season.  The Braves acquired him knowing he would be out all year due to the elbow surgery.

2008
R:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 5.0 IP, 1.8 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
A:  1-2-0, 5.18 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 40.0 IP, 4.7 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Cordier saw only limited action in his recovery year.

2009
A+:  7-8-0, 3.87 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 121.0 IP, 5.5 BB/9, 6.5 K/9

Cordier spent the season in the rotation in high A and struggled with his control.  For a pitcher with good stuff, he didn’t strike out many, either.

2010
AA:  11-7-0, 3.71 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 135.2 IP, 4.6 BB/9, 7.5 K/9
AAA:  1-1-0, 5.62 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 8.0 IP, 7.9 BB/9, 4.5 K/9

In AA, Cordier made considerable progress despite continued weak control.  His fastball sat at 94-97 and his slider showed potential.  He held opponents to a .236 average.  The Braves added him to their 40-man roster after the season.

2011
AA:  0-1-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 5.0 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 7.2 K/9
AAA:  5-8-0, 5.13 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 86.0 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 6.4 K/9

Cordier had bone spur surgery on his elbow that cost him the early part of the season, and also got hit with a couple line drives late in the season.  When he was able to pitch he struggled in AAA, walking nearly as many as he fanned.

2012
R:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 3.2 IP, 14.7 BB/9, 14.7 K/9
AA:  0-2-0, 20.25 ERA, 3.25 WHIP, 4.0 IP, 11.2 BB/9, 13.5 K/9
AAA:  1-1-0, 4.38 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 7.7 BB/9, 5.5 K/9

Cordier missed most of the season with a hand injury and struggled when he pitched.  The Braves removed him from their 40-man roster after the season.

2013
AAA:  4-2-4, 4.58 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 53.0 IP, 4.8 BB/9, 11.0 K/9

Cordier stayed healthy and pitched in relief for Indianapolis all year.  His fastball generally sat in the upper-90s and he sometimes hit triple digits.  He continued to struggle with control problems, but not at previous levels.  The problems tended to come in bursts; he’d be OK for a while, then walk three in an inning.  He maintained a consistently high K rate.  Cordier improved a lot after the early going.  In April and May, he had an ERA of 5.85, WHIP of 1.65 and BB/9 of 5.85.  After May he had an ERA of 3.82, WHIP of 1.39 and BB/9 of 4.1, so he made a great deal of progress but still was walking too many.  For the season, left-handed batters hit .319 against him and right-handed batters only .200.  The difference in OPS is actually smaller, though — .777 to .672 — because Cordier was more apt to walk righties and allowed all three of his HRs to them.

Cordier will be a free agent after the season, but the Pirates may consider adding him to the roster.  He made significant progress during the season, most of all by staying healthy, and the move to the bullpen appears to have worked well.  He still walks too many and probably wouldn’t be ready to pitch in the majors early in 2014, but he has an option left, at least by my calculations.  Alternatively, the Pirates could try to re-sign him to another minor league deal, which worked with Kris Johnson, although he’d be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.  You have to think that they’d like to keep a pitcher who hits 100 mph in the organization.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2013: Minor league contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $575,000
MiLB Debut: 2004
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2013
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/5/10
Options Remaining: 1 (USED:  2011, 2012)
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 7, 2004: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2nd round, 63rd overall pick; signed on June 30.
March 23, 2007: Traded by the Kansas City Royals to the Atlanta Braves for Tony Pena, Jr.
November 5, 2010: Contract purchased by the Atlanta Braves.
October 31, 2012: Outrighted to AAA by the Atlanta Braves.
November 3, 2012: Became a free agent.
November 21, 2012: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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