Part 3 of the 7-part series takes us into the world of a former Braves’ folk hero, a hip-hop jock, and to a man that is hyped, but not really hyped, but should be really hyped, but he’s not. If you’re not in the know and would like to be, posts #1 can be found here and #2 here. Let’s do it, shall we?
Atlanta Braves’ Todd Cunningham
7. Todd Cunningham has a 2% chance to make the 25-man roster. Born as Thomas David Cunningham, Todd has been Rockin’ my Jock since 2011! A classic 4th OF type, Cunningham has no standout skills but really does nothing poorly. He’s more of “a bit” player. When asked if he can run, the scout would say “a bit”. When asked if he can hit, the scout would say “a bit”. When asked if he can rap, Dr. Dre would say, “Hell NO!” If Jordan Schafer weren’t already on this team, Todd (how that comes from Thomas David is well beyond me) would likely be an ideal 4th OF candidate. Does Todd provide enough value to continue Rockin’ Jocks in Turner Field? My answer: No.
Atlanta Braves’ Jose Constanza
8. Jose Constanza has a 2% chance to make the 25-man roster. Jose Constanza has lived off the hype of 2011 for way too long. His speed is diminishing, his defense is reminiscent of a poor man’s Jim Edmonds (more hyped because of the unnecessary use of the “dive”, not for actual skill), and no matter how many times he licks his bat, he’ll never get to the core of his hitting woes. He’s simply not a quality major league ballplayer (wasn’t really a quality Minor Leaguer last year) and may the baseball gods have mercy on his soul. You’ll always have 2011, Constanza. Do I even have to ask the question? My answer: N to the O.
Atlanta Braves’ Tommy La Stella
9. Tommy La Stella has a 5% chance to make the 25-man roster. In my opinion, Tommy La Stella is the best hitter in the Braves minor league system. While some Internet doofuses such as myself might call La Stella “overhyped”, when taken into full MLB perspective, La Stella has barely any hype about him at all. In fact, the only real attention he’s received nationally was from John Sickels who ranked him #2 in the Braves organization. Here’s an excerpt:
“What? Why so high? Simple: I get the Matt Carpenter/Allen Craig St. Louis Cardinals type massively underrated prospect vibe with this one…”
I get that on Tommy as well. He’s been a very good hitter and, not a great, but solid defender. He has maintained a high-walk rate throughout the minors and his numbers suggest he could be a 10-15 HR guy. What impresses me the most is his ability to make contact as he put the ball in play 90% of his at-bats. He also seems to really understand the game when listening to him speak in interviews.
If he doesn’t get traded (not saying that I even think he will but anything’s possible), I foresee La Stella holding down 2nd base for quite sometime and could be a great, albeit nontraditional, leadoff hitter with serious OBP potential. However, the relevant question is “Does La Stella provide value to the bench for 2014?” The short answer would be YES! However, the long answer is no due to his arb-clock starting. Tommy’s not a bench player. If the Braves decide to cut ties with Uggla sometime over the course of the season or better yet, trade him in Spring Training, I hope the front office has the intelligence to call on La Stella to fill the need. My overall answer: No.
This concludes the position player portion of this series. Tune in soon for the pitcher pieces, including the big reveal of the Ideal 25-man roster!