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Atlanta Braves Top 30 Prospects: No. 21, Todd Cunningham

21. Todd Cunningham, OF
B/T: B/R 2011 Age: 22 Ht: 6'0" Wt: 200
2010: (A-)
65 G, .260/.341/.338, 9 2B, 3 3B, HR, 20 RBI, 7 SB, 14 BB, 30 K

I may be ranking Todd Cunningham too high at 21, but the likelihood that he makes the Major Leagues is pretty high at this point, no matter the impact he will have there. Cunningham was drafted by the Braves in the second round in 2010 out of Jacksonville State.

Coming out of college, Cunningham profiled as a toolsy player who could play a variety of positions and had a good sense of the zone. His first season as a pro in A- Rome at the age of 21 exploited his lack of power and showed his ability as a utility type wasn't as great as first thought. He hit just nine doubles, three triples and one home run in 263 plate appearances, good for a .338 SLG and .078 Isolated Power. A relatively decent idea of the zone in his pro debut salvaged a .320 wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average) and .341 OBP. He didn't walk as much as anticipated but kept the strikeouts low.

Cunningham shows good speed in the outfield but has a weak arm. I wouldn't be able to tell yet whether he can stick in center field. It's practically his only shot at a prominent role in the upper levels because he likely won't be able to hit enough to start as a corner outfielder. On the other hand, if he displays below average defense in center he must progress a lot further with the bat. Either way something has to happen for Cunningham to start in the upper levels, but his zone discipline and switch-hitting ability alone will keep him going and give him a good shot at reaching the Majors.

Cunningham's lack of power is due to throwing his hands at the ball and slapping opposite field hits. He has good coverage of the plate and will probably keep the strikeouts low as he progresses, but it would serve him well to work on more walks. At his best, he profiles as a slap hitting leadoff type with decent speed. Otherwise, he's a fourth outfielder.

Three Things to Look For in 2011: 1) Power 2) Defense 3) Walks
Destination in 2011: All at A+; even if he begins back at A- Rome, age will push him quickly
ETA: 2013
Ceiling: Slap Hitting Leadoff Hitter in CF
My Prediction: Fourth Outfielder in Majors

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.