Braves address two needs with second-round pick Brett Cumberland
Back in late January, before the draft board unfolded in a way that pushed the Braves’ scouting department to select three more standout high-school pitchers, general manager John Coppolella openly addressed the organization’s needs for impact college bats and catchers.
In second-round pick Brett Cumberland, Atlanta may have found both.
The University of California catcher was one of the top power hitters in college baseball this past season, hitting .344/.480/.678 with 16 home runs in just 180 at-bats. A draft-eligible sophomore and switch hitter with room for growth, Cumberland was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and though he may not stick at catcher due to his arm strength, the bat remains an asset.
(There’s a long list of converted catchers that found success at other positions because their bat played, including young Cubs star Kyle Schwarber and reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson.)
Cumberland, 20, likely jumps to the front of the line in the farm system’s catcher rankings, jumping recent additions 2015 second-round pick Lucas Herbert and Ricardo Rodriguez and Double-A All-Star Willians Astudillo.