Has anyone other than me noticed how well Cumberland is playing in Chattanooga? For those who don't know, Cumberland was acquired by the Reds last July from the Rays in the Jorge Cantu deal. He was just a toss in but he's looking like a steal at this point. After only hitting .246/.303/.347 in the Rays system last year, he was traded to the Reds and assigned to AA Chattanooga where he hit .301/.355/.407. Baseball America and the Rays seemed to like his tools but his plate discipline was below average. Here is what Baseball America had to say about him after the trade:
Tampa Bay harbored high hopes for Cumberland, the club's 10th-round pick from a Florida high school in 2003, but the right fielder had yet to translate his tools to on-field production. Even though the 22-year-old was batting just .246/.303/.347 for Montgomery at the time of the trade, he offers speed, arm strength, budding power from the left side and the athleticism to play all three outfield spots. Cumberland's trouble has been plate discipline, as he gives away too many at-bats. His brother Drew, a shortstop, was a Padres supplemental first-round pick in June.
Back to me. This season Cumberland has greatly improved his plate discipline. After posting a 36 BB/91 K ratio in 467 atbats last season, he's at 14 BB/12 K in 76 atbats so far this year. That improved plate discipline had led to a huge improvement at the plate. He's hitting .355/.456/.605 - 1.061 OPS through 76 atbats. He won't turn 24 years old until the first of August, and if he keeps hitting like this we could see him in Cincinnati sometime in September. He needs to work on his base stealing skills, but may he be the Reds leadoff hitter of the future? As BA notes, he's got the athleticism to play CF, so could we see him playing CF and leading off for the Reds next year?