Atlanta Braves Sign Former Chiefs Cornerback Sanders Commings
Tim Tebow will not be the only former NFLer to try his hand at baseball this year. The Atlanta Braves have signed former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sanders Commings to a minor league deal.
When Tim Tebow proclaimed his intent to attempt to play baseball, it was dismissed as a publicity stunt. He had not played baseball since high school, and showed serious rust in his tryout. While he may have had some talent, there was little reason to consider him as a viable prospect. Although he signed with the Mets, and even appeared in the Arizona Fall League, Tebow is still considered a long shot to have a Major League career.
Given Tebow’s stature, any other former NFL player looking to make a similar transition to professional baseball will end up compared to the former quarterback. That comparison may not be valid in all cases, especially with former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sanders Commings, who the Atlanta Braves inked to a minor league contract.
This will not be Commings first brush with professional baseball. He had been drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 in the 37th round, but decided to go to the University of Georgia to play football. After being forced to retire due to injuries, Commings decided to give baseball another shot, enlisting former player Jerry Hairston Jr to help train him.
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While it may simply be the fact that Hairston represents Commings, he has gushed about his potential. Originally skeptical about the idea of training Commings, he changed his tune early on. While the comparison to Starling Marte is rather implausible for a player that has not really swung a bat in a decade, Commings is expected to have solid power and speed. Defensively, he is expected to be able to play at all three outfield spots.
It will be interesting to see what type of player Commings becomes for the Braves. There is, at the very least, some talent there, given that he was previously drafted, but it may take some time before he is comfortable on the diamond.
At 26 years old, the Braves may also need to be aggressive in regards to promoting Commings. If he performs well in the lower minors, he may get fast tracked to the upper minors. There, Commings could face his first real test – can he prove to be a viable prospect in the upper levels, or will he simply be a curiosity, a stellar athlete unable to translate his gifts to baseball?
For the Atlanta Braves, Sanders Commings is an interesting lottery ticket. If Jerry Hairston Jr is correct, this one could pay off quite well for the Braves.