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Cordoba's confidence pays off atop lineup

MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Forget the qualifiers with Allen Cordoba. The 21-year-old rookie isn't merely a good player for a Rule 5 pick. Two months into his big league career, he's been an impressive baseball player. Period.

Cordoba went 3-for-4 with two RBIs on Friday night, finishing a homer shy of the cycle as the Padres rallied past the Rockies for an 8-5 victory. He's hitting .310/.346/.460 this year after spending last season playing rookie ball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

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SAN DIEGO -- Forget the qualifiers with Allen Cordoba. The 21-year-old rookie isn't merely a good player for a Rule 5 pick. Two months into his big league career, he's been an impressive baseball player. Period.

Cordoba went 3-for-4 with two RBIs on Friday night, finishing a homer shy of the cycle as the Padres rallied past the Rockies for an 8-5 victory. He's hitting .310/.346/.460 this year after spending last season playing rookie ball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

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"Anybody hitting .300 in this league is impressive," said Padres manager Andy Green. "... If you want to paint the picture with the Rule 5 or without the Rule 5, he's a legitimate top-of-the-order hitter at this point in time. How long that sustains, we'll give him every opportunity to show."

Since center fielder Manuel Margot went down with a calf strain last week, Cordoba has filled in as the sparkplug atop the Padres' batting order. He's batting .333 since the start of May.

But the context is what makes Cordoba's numbers jaw-dropping. Speaking with reporters after the game, he donned a ring from his championship with Johnson City of the Appalachian League. It's not even a year old.

Chances are, Cordoba would be toiling away in Class A right now, had the Padres not taken him in December's Rule 5 Draft. For some, it'd be considered an intimidating step up. For Cordoba -- who juxtaposes his soft-spoken nature by oozing self-confidence -- he never seriously doubted whether he'd fit in.

"From the first time they took me in the Rule 5 ... I believed in myself, and I really, truly believed I had the ability to do it," Cordoba said. "I think that just comes with hard work. I know I have a lot of talent and it's just a matter of working hard."

Video: COL@SD: Cordoba drives in his second run of the game

Without any fanfare, Cordoba signed with the Cardinals for $7,500 in April 2013. He won consecutive rookie ball batting titles in the Cardinals system, yet never got a chance at a higher level.

Asked why he felt he wasn't given that opportunity, Cordoba pointed to a backlog of high-priced signees in the Cardinals system. That, of course, was part of the reason St. Louis opted not to add Cordoba to its 40-man roster, thus protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft.

"For me, I just put it in my head that no matter which league they were going to put me in, I was going to give it my best and play as hard as I can so I could show them that the results were there and I had the ability to play above that," Cordoba said.

The Padres gave him that chance -- and then some. Cordoba has made it count.

He lined an RBI single in the third inning Friday night, before doubling and scoring in the bottom of the fifth. He tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, before showcasing his elite wheels with a triple to left in the eighth.

As has been the case since December, Cordoba made the most of every at-bat Friday night.

"He's earned every bit of the opportunity that he's receiving right now," Green said. "Nothing's been given to him. He's earned the right to be out there. He's earned the right to be hitting at the top of the order, and it's been very, very impressive."

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

San Diego Padres, Allen Cordoba