Todd Cunningham Scouting Report (2010)
As the Atlanta Braves second round pick in the 2010 draft, Todd Cunningham was pushed aggressively to Rome where the former college standout struggled to adjust to professional baseball. In seeing him play a handful of times, Cunningham was definitely an enjoyable player to watch from a baseball standpoint. However, reports of his not having a standout tool are accurate leaving both Cunningham’s projection and future position in limbo.
Physical Projection: Cunningham is built like your prototypical two-hole hitter. At 6’0″, 200 lbs., he is fully developed through the quads and forearms indicating little room for additional growth. This is a bit disconcerting considering his lack of pop (.338 SLG) in the “Sally”. Additionally, he’s not a speedster so his physical tools scream “tweener”.
As an athlete, he’s fluid and compact at the plate, but those attributes do not carry over into the field where he has shuffled around quite a bit in his short time with the Braves. One thing to Cunningham’s favor is that he’s simply an excellent baseball player who has a high baseball IQ. I’m confident Cunningham will maximize his tools, but just not sure the physical tools aren’t already close to maxed out at present.
Offense: A switch hitter, his OPS splits were nearly identical, but I preferred his swing from the left side. Cunningham combines a strong understanding of the strike zone, quick hands, and a level swing plane which keeps his bat head in the strike zone longer than most. He also has a knack for letting the ball travel deep into the strike zone which allows him to slice line drives down the left field line. However, this approach severely limits his power leaving him with an up-the-middle offensive profile without the speed or defensive chops to project there.
From the right side, his swing doesn’t look nearly as natural to the point where I wonder if he winds up ditching the idea of hitting from the right side. I normally love when hitters keep their hands inside the baseball, but in Cunningham’s case, it was exaggerated to the point of being awkward.
Defense: In all honesty, I did not see much of him on defense. In the majority of the games I was in attendance for, Cunningham served as the designated hitter which is rather damning considering the level of play and draft position. When he did play the outfield, nothing really stood out as a positive or negative. He was more-or-less just there making the routine play.
From speaking to scouts, it seems as if Cunningham was drafted as a second base conversion project that backfired. He was then moved to third base, which went poorly as well before settling into the outfield. Maybe an offseason of reps on the infield will help, but it will be an uphill battle for him to profile as even an average infielder.
Speed: At present, Cunningham is an average runner. He will swipe a handful of bases, but will be caught too many times to be considered any sort of threat. He’s a sound fundamental baserunner and should be able to make the most out of whatever speed he does have.
When I normally discuss a prospect being a “wild card”, it’s due to undeveloped tools and considerable untapped potential. In Cunningham’s case, I’d place that label on him because his prospect status is more tied into positional value than just about anybody I scouted other than maybe Giants farmhand Tommy Joseph or Yankees prospect J.R. Murphy.
If he can work his way into being at least a functional second baseman, his prospect status receives a considerable boost due to a 2B, 3B, OF profile. Should he wind up a fringe centerfield prospect who plays better at a corner, then his prospect status is pretty much dead on arrival with a top end projection of a 4th outfielder.
Keep a close eye on where Cunningham opens the 2011 season as it will be one of the more interesting stories of Braves minor league spring training.
21 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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