Ronald Acuna is stealing the headlines as far as Braves prospects go, but we already gave him some love and the team has another farmhand who has been unstoppable since the calendar turned to June in Brett Cumberland.
Cumberland is an advanced college bat who was drafted out of Cal last season with the 76th overall pick after being named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. The team wanted a hit-first catcher who could get to the big leagues to fill the void the team has had at backstop since letting go of Brian McCann and Evan Gattis. Just months ago, Braves Country was nervous regarding the state of the organization at the position. It is clear now that between Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki’s success at the big league level and Alex Jackson and Brett Cumberland’s success on the farm that there is no reason to fret.
Cumberland was underwhelming in 2016, and got off to a slow start this season. That all changed when he broke out in May. In a ten game stretch from May 22 to May 30, he hit .432 with five homers and 20 RBI. Overall for the month, he posted a 1.278 OPS. Just like that, Cumberland reverted from a being fringe prospect to a guy that could be a future cornerstone for the franchise.
What makes Cumberland very intriguing is his switch-hitting ability, and he has very similar splits from both sides of the plate. One of the more intriguing draft prospects from last season appears to finally be putting it together, and the organization is praying he can keep it up. Catchers who can bat are a rarity nowadays, and it seems the Braves have two potential big-time backstops who could make some noise in the big leagues.
If he continues to do what he is doing, the organization will likely promote him. Do not be surprised if he skips A+ ball.