Drew Cumberland Establishing Himself as SS of the Future


The Padres, of course, called Lance Zawadzki up from the minors yesterday. Zawadzki is thought by some to be the Padres shortstop of the future, perhaps in competition with Everth Cabrera.

Still, there is a prospect a couple of levels below Zawadzki who’s making a good deal of noise.

Drew Cumberland is raking at a ridiculous .357/.410/.589 clip in Lake Elsinore (yes, Cal League environment caveat, although Lake Elsinore is one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the circuit).

Cumberland hit .293/.386/.410 at Fort Wayne last year as a 20-year-old, which established him as someone to watch. He’ll be 21 all season this year, which makes him a bit young for the Cal League, further enhancing the value in his numbers.

There’s nothing Cumberland hasn’t excelled at thus far in 2010. He’s making consistent contact (just 8 K in 56 AB, with 20 hits) and showing over-the-fence power (three homers). And, oh yeah, he’s 9-for-10 in steals.

Cumberland has already topped his 2009 homer total. Yes, the environment has something to do with that, but even if some of the power is a mirage, Cumberland’s still valuable. After all, if he were slugging .500 instead of .589, he’d still look great.

Defensive scouting reports of Cumberland call him an average-across-the-board defender at short who won’t be a Gold Glover but should be able to hold down the position in the majors. He could also be a plus defender at second.

With Logan Forsythe, Cabrera, Zawadzki, James Darnell, and Edinson Rincon all occupying various infield positions in the system, there’s no doubt Cumberland will have competition as he continues to get closer to San Diego. However, if he keeps his offensive performance anywhere near these levels, he’ll find his way into a key role somewhere. The 21-year-old could hit San Antonio before long; time is on his side.

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