With their 17th rounder in the 2010 MLB Draft, the Padres broke a seemingly endless string of California or Florida prospects to take Murray State first baseman Wes Cunningham.
Cunningham, 22, is a lefty senior slugger who the Padres are probably hoping turns into the next Cody Decker (22nd round pick in 2009 currently tearing up High-A).
Cunningham hit over .400 in each of his last two college seasons. He batted .408/.476/.824 as a senior with a whopping 22 homers.
Cunningham, like Decker before him, is something of a bat-only prospect. He’s listed as “1B/DH” on Murray State’s website, and if you aren’t good enough to regularly play the field in college…well, then, you probably don’t have many defensive options in the pros.
Cunningham has decent speed and a good arm, but his hands and defensive fundamentals were a handicap in the outfield corners. The Padres can’t afford to put a guy in Petco’s outfield who struggles with route-running, after all.
Then again, we’re talking about a 17th rounder here, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Cunningham has to prove he can carry his torrent of offense from the Ohio Valley Conference to pro ball before anyone should worry about what position he’ll play. At least he has speed: you can’t teach speed, but you can teach defensive fundamentals to an extent.
It’s nice that someone with such gaudy college numbers was still available at this slot.