The name Drew Cumberland might ring a few bells – more likely than not, you’ve heard it in the past few years when highly touted NL West prospects were brought up. And for good reason, as Cumberland was not that long ago, a top prospect in the San Diego Padres organization.
Unfortunately for Cumberland and the Padres, the now 21 year old (soon to be 22) shortstop and former participant in the 2010 Futures All-Star game had to abruptly retire due to a debilitating inner ear infection but appears to have fully recovered and is back, ready to take the field. Even worse news for the Padres though is that they opted not to save him in the Rule 5 Draft due to his retired status, so now a healthy Cumberland is there for the taking come next weeks Rule 5 Draft.
Statistically, Cumberland’s stock is pretty good as he boasts a career .316/.380/.430 batting line in the minors to go along with 62 stolen bases in 233 games, although, most of those games were in A ball as Cumberland could only rise to AA for fifteen games before his career was cut short. But, speedy, offensively talented shortstops don’t exactly grow on trees, either….
As you know – players selected in the Rule 5 Draft must be added to both the 40 and 25 man rosters and said player must play the full season on the Major League roster, something Cumberland wont be productive doing – but if the Giants were to keep Cumberland at the Major League level all season, they’d be free to send him to the minors next for proper and much needed seasoning.
Is it a risk the Giants will take? Tough call. Multiple teams have expressed mild interest in Cumberland – the White Sox, Twins and Nationals to name a few – but the fact that he’ll have to remain on the MLB roster despite not being ready for that (not to mention his long injury history) may scare a few clubs away, which could drop him to San Francisco’s selection spot.
After all, if it doesn’t work out, the Giants can simply release him rather than keep him on the roster all year long, but for a system currently void of offensive prospects – the reward might be worth the risk.