Franchy Cordero showed Thursday night just how far he has come as a hitter this season.
San Diego's No. 12 prospect went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI as Triple-A El Paso defeated Fresno, 5-1, at Southwest University Park.
Cordero singled up the middle in the first inning and later smacked an RBI double to right with one out in the third. After doubling to left to lead off the fifth, he wrapped up his seventh four-hit game of the season by beating out an infield single to second base in the seventh. In all four plates appearances, the 22-year-old reached base in three or fewer pitches.
Video: El Paso's Cordero singles for fourth hit
"The timing has been a little here and there, but it was there tonight. He busted a couple [pitches] his first couple at-bats and put some good swings on balls," Chihuahuas hitting coach Morgan Burkhart said. "He didn't hit them great, but by putting good mechanical swings through the balls, he got some love from them."
On May 2 this season, Cordero's average had dipped to .207. Since that day, the native of the Dominican Republic has not hit lower than .337 in a full month. After collecting four hits and improving to 10-for-18 in his last four games against the Grizzlies, he upped his average to .323 to move into a tie for eighth in the Pacific Coast League batting race -- 17 points behind Colorado Springs' Ivan De Jesus Jr.
Gameday box score
Over the last handful of games, Burkhart said he has seen his charge as focused as ever.
"He's locked in and he's working hard," the coach said. "This series, he's been really good with two strikes. When he has those good battles, he's got a good ability to see a soft pitch, recognize it and stay on it quite well. That's given him some really quality at-bats."
Cordero made his Major League debut in May before returning for a second stint in late July. He spent 30 games in the big leagues, batting .228 with three homers and nine RBIs. Since returning to El Paso on July 23, the 2011 international free agent has hit safely in 24 of 34 games.
While Burkhart said the young outfielder built some positive experience this year, he added that the learning process will continue once the season ends.
"He's still growing up," the former big leaguer said. "He still just needs AB's. The talent is there. It's an unbelievable talent. The strength he has in his bat, plus it's a pretty clean swing and he runs like the wind. We're putting all that together and getting some experience and hopefully he keeps getting better.
"Going to the big leagues was great. I think it got his focus to, 'OK, here is what I need to do.' He's a hard worker. Put it all together as he grows and gets experience, and I think he's going to be a pretty good player."
Nick Buss added a solo homer for the Chihuahuas while Rafael Ortega doubled twice and drove in two runs.
Starting pitcher Chad Huffman (3-1) allowed a run on four hits while walking two and striking out four over six innings for El Paso.
Fresno's David Martinez (7-12) gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk with five punchouts over four frames.