27 May

blossoming in may

Cedric Hunter might hate to see May come to an end. The Mississippi Braves outfielder is batting .339 this month with two homers and 14 RBIs. He has 14 hits since May 15. For the season, Hunter is at .298 with four homers, 18 RBIs and 15 runs, helping the M-Braves climb to 28-22 and into the Southern League South first-half race. That Hunter, 26, is having success in Double-A isn’t really surprising. After all, he’s been in the big leagues. More interesting is how he wound up back at this level in his ninth pro year. Plucked in the third round of the 2006 draft by San Diego out of a Georgia high school, Hunter established himself as the Padres’ top prospect after his first pro season. The left-handed hitter made San Diego’s opening day roster in 2011. That was a high point. From there, his career curve turned. He got just four at-bats with the Padres in 2011 before being shipped back to Triple-A, where he put up mediocre numbers. Taken off the 40-man roster in that off-season, he was snatched by Oakland, then traded to St. Louis, which stuck him in the minors. He bounced from there to the Cleveland organization, where he split time between Triple-A and Double-A in 2013. The 6-foot, 195-pound Hunter is a .288 career minor league hitter; the knock appears to be that he has neither great speed nor big power. But as he has shown this month, he can make offensive contributions. While some of the younger M-Braves outfielders have struggled and/or suffered injuries, Hunter has seized the opportunity and given the team a big lift. We shall see what June holds in store. P.S. The M-Braves host Pensacola tonight in Game 2 of a five-game series at Trustmark Park.

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