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Cade Bunnell promoted to M-Braves ahead of Thursday’s game against Chattanooga

Cade Bunnell promoted to M-Braves ahead of Thursday’s game against Chattanooga

It’s been somewhat of an uneven start for the 24-year-old Cade Bunnell, but according to the transactions page at MiLB.com, on Thursday the infielder was promoted to Double-A Mississippi.

Screenshot from MiLB.com

I have to say, the move is a bit surprising, for Bunnell has mostly struggled with High-A Rome so far this season, despite at times showing signs of improvement at the plate. The former 40th-round pick currently sports a below-average 85 wRC+ with the R-Braves, stemming from a power-less .177/.346/.291 slash-line. Although, for a three-game stretch last week the kid was scorching hot, going 6 for 12 (.500 AVG) with a home run and a double in that span (from May 4-6). Since then, Bunnell is hitless in his last seven at-bats, and other than that brief stint of solid hitting, he only has one other multi-hit performance in 2022 – back on April 9.

For those that perhaps haven’t heard of Bunnell: he was the Braves final pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, out of Indiana University, where he primarily came off the bench for the Hoosiers. As a career .200 hitter in college, he wasn’t much of a prospect coming into the draft, and now three years later his stock hasn’t moved much either way. Last season, in his first and only full-season as a pro so far, Bunnell struck out in roughly 35% of his PA and hit just .216, though he showed some solid power by slugging 17 home runs and a whopping 26 doubles in 113 games with Single-A Augusta. Even with such a bloated K rate and an obvious inability to make much contact, Bunnell’s 2021 campaign still featured an above average 120 wRC+ with the GreenJackets.

Bunnell has primarily played first base so far in 2022, though he can play just about anywhere in the infield, having also logged six games at shortstop, five at second and one at DH. I don’t see Bunnell taking at-bats away from guys like Luke Waddell (SS), Drew Lugbauer (1B) or CJ Alexander (3B), but with Jalen Miller and Riley Delgado having taken care of second base and DH duties, respectively, we could see the former Rome player make a few starts in the Mississippi infield. As mentioned above, I don’t think this was a performance-based promotion, but maybe more of a challenge, given Bunnell will soon turn 25 and is currently roughly 2 1/2 years older than the average High-A player. Either way, though, congrats to the kid and hopefully he can hold his own versus Double-A pitching.

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