View Full Version : MINORS FINAL 5/5: Northcraft dominant; regarding Cunniff

05-04-2014, 08:30 PM
Part of this article came from the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise

Brandon Cunniff, signed off the Indy League scrap heap last season, has worked 15.2 innings this year without an earned run allowed. He has struck out 21. The right-hander also has the distinction of being unbeaten as a professional. Maybe one of the Braves' best FA signings under the Wren regime if he continues to develop.

He spent part of his collegiate career at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., a church school that merely sent seven players into pro ball in 2013. After a surprising cut by the Marlins, Cunniff earned the opportunity by going 7-0 with 17 saves and a 1.57 ERA in 81 games in the Frontier League in 2011-2012, first with the River City franchise in O’Fallon, Mo., and then with Southern Illinois. When the Braves called last July, he 2013 found him with eight saves in 12 games and had not given up a run.

“I’d been putting up numbers for three years,” Cunniff said, “so I was hoping definitely this year (to get picked up by a major-league organization). I put in a lot of work in the offseason.”

Although it was relatively new, he thrived in the closer role throughout his stay in Southern Illinois, which included four saves in five game as the Miners won the Frontier League playoffs in 2012.

“It’s just more attacking hitters and trusting your stuff,” he said. “I just use my fastball a ton, spotting it up. … You’ve got to trust your stuff and you’ve got to get people out. That’s how you’re going to be successful. That’s how I was successful.”

Cunniff was drafted in 2010 by the Marlins and went 2-0 with a 2.34 ERA and five saves in 18 games — 17 in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and one with class-A Jamestown. Despite the numbers, he was released.

“My (velocity) wasn’t as high as it was during the spring, or when they drafted me,” he recalled. “So they basically didn’t have any room for me, they said.”

That sent him into the Frontier League, with a level of competition that he estimates as falling somewhere between low- and high-A, where he says he clearly improved.

“My velocity increased,” he said. “I just became a better pitcher, using my fastball and spotting up.”

He estimates that he’s picked up four to five miles an hour on his fastball, reaching 91-92 on a consistent basis. “I can touch 94, 95 every once in a while,” he said.



Buffalo 7, Gwinnett 3

SP: Maya 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
LP: Severino (0-1) 2.1 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
Constanza 1-4, 2B, R.
La Stella 2-4, 2B, RBI.
Gosselin 2-4, 3B, 2 R, SB.
Bethancourt 1-4, RBI, SB.


Mississippi 4, Mobile 1

WP: Northcraft (3-1) 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K.
Simmons (Save, 7) 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
Loman 1-3, R, SB, HBP.
E. Reyes 2-4, 2B, RBI. (.359)
Rohm 1-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI.
Kennelly 2-3, R.
Nunez 2-4, R.


Carolina 10, Lynchburg 3

Wren 1-4, SB (16th).
Carroll 1-4, HR (2nd), 2 RBI. (.417)
Tewell 2-4, 2B, R.
LP: Miller (0-3) 5 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K.


Savannah 5, Rome 1

SP: Marksberry 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K.
LP: Brosius (0-2) 2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K.
Oliver 2-5, RBI.
V. Reyes 2-3.
Franco 2-3.

05-05-2014, 08:37 PM
Northcraft has been a beast this month. Long awaited dominance from the big man.

05-06-2014, 07:08 AM
Northcraft has been a beast this month. Long awaited dominance from the big man.

Legit SP option down the line? Trade bait?

05-06-2014, 07:18 AM
More speed in our system than any point I can remember...

05-06-2014, 07:39 AM
Legit SP option down the line? Trade bait?

More likely a bullpen option. Significant platoon splits. Gets a lot of grounders. Similar in that regard to Schlosser, but throws a bit harder than Schlosser. Going forward will compete with Hale, Martin, Schlosser and maybe a couple others for the swingman role (spot starter-long reliever) at the major league level. None of them profile as an above-average major league starter, but pitchers are more unpredictable than hitters in their development. It is good to have a stockpile of players like that.