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Big-hitting Reyes joins friend Franchy in lineup

Rookie outfielder and Cordero remain close from days in D.R.
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Batting in the middle of the Padres' lineup on Monday was a rookie outfielder with unquestioned power -- a rookie outfielder who hits the ball harder than just about anybody else who plays the sport.

You could call him Fran for short, though nobody does.

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SAN DIEGO -- Batting in the middle of the Padres' lineup on Monday was a rookie outfielder with unquestioned power -- a rookie outfielder who hits the ball harder than just about anybody else who plays the sport.

You could call him Fran for short, though nobody does.

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Oh, and Franchy Cordero was penciled into the Padres' outfield, too.

Franmil Reyes, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound behemoth arrived in San Diego on Monday after his contract was selected from El Paso and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the team's 6-4 loss. He batted a scorching .346/.442/.738 at Triple-A, while leading the Minors with 14 homers.

Video: COL@SD: Reyes discusses making debut with Padres

Reyes has long been close with Cordero, a fellow outfielder from the Dominican Republic and a fellow force of nature. Both possess freakish athletic frames, and both needed time to hone their swings so as to best capture their raw power.

Eventually, they did, and both tore through Triple-A. Now, Cordero hit fifth and Reyes sixth against the Rockies on Monday night.

"Since 2015, when they moved me to the outfield, we've shared the outfield at various levels," said Cordero, a one-time shortstop prospect. "To do it here is pretty special."

The similarities don't end there. They signed with the Padres on the exact same day -- Nov. 1, 2011 -- and they were signed by the exact same people -- Felix Feliz, Martin Jose and one-time Padres general manager, Randy Smith.

"Both of those guys are great guys, and they both go about it the right way," said Smith when reached by phone on Monday evening. "I'm not surprised at all that they're having the success they're having."

Cordero and Reyes first met during a tryout shortly before they signed. They were roommates at the team's complex in the Dominican Republic. Evidently, Reyes made quite the first impression.

"I just remember all the bombs he was hitting and how big an arm he had," said Cordero. "Once we signed, I remember getting to know each other and starting to hang out and spending some time together at the complex in the DR. That was the start of our relationship, which is a really special one."

Cordero was far more highly touted as a prospect, and he's turned plenty of heads across the Majors this season with his monster home runs and his absurdly hard contact. He leads the Padres with an average exit velocity of 93 mph, and he's crushed four of the eight hardest-hit balls in the National League this year.

"Franmil hits it harder," Cordero admitted Monday.

Video: SD@SEA: Reyes slugs a two-run homer in the 9th

It's possible Cordero was only being modest. But one Padres staffer acknowledged Reyes' average exit velocity this season is higher than Cordero's, and he's hit a handful baseballs harder than 110 mph.

Said one Padres Minor Leaguer who's been on hand for all of Reyes' exploits this season: "He's hitting .350, and it's the hardest .350 you've ever seen."

Yes, Cordero and Reyes both mash. But they aren't the same player by any stretch. In many ways, they're polar opposites. Cordero flies, and he projects as a very good outfielder, though he could still use work on his first step and his routes.

None of those traits are applicable to Reyes. He's a hulking defender, and his outfield play remains suspect. There's no denying his bat alone brought him to San Diego.

"They were always different guys in the way they went about it," Smith said. "But they've always had incredibly exciting tools."

With his first swing of batting practice on Monday, Reyes parked one 10 rows deep into the second deck. That's rarified territory at Petco Park. But with Cordero already on board, the extraordinary has already become routine during BP.

"I look at Franchy as an example for me," Reyes said. "He's a very good player. He's disciplined. The support he gives his teammates and the young guys, it's awesome.

"When we played our first season in the Dominican Summer League together ... we talked a lot about [playing together in the Majors] one day."

It's no longer just talk.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Franchy Cordero