Rick Astley really hit it on the head with this one:
That's how I'm feeling about Drew Cumberland.
I mean that I'm not going to give up on the guy. Reports indicate that Cumberland has been cleared to participate in sports after his season-long battle with an inner-ear disorder and post-concussion effects forced him into early retirement, finishing out last season as a coach.
His retirement was a blow to fans and the organization, as Cumberland was on the fast track to the bigs in an area of need for San Diego.
Now, I've never had an inner-ear disorder, but a good buddy of mine had an inner-ear infection. He explained in gory detail just how god-awful it was. Imagine being drunk...not buzzed...drunk. Fun, right? Except that most of us feel that way for a few hours that night. You wake up with a head-splitting hangover and then move on to feeling fairly good by that next night. Imagine that feeling NEVER GOING AWAY. Stand up. Feel dizzy. Puke. Lay back down. Repeat. Ad infinitum.
I don't imagine he was feeling that terrible. Probably not likely since a summer of that would drive pretty much anyone completely bonkers. All signs point to him having retained his faculties. Still, though, when you start messing with balance issues--body functions most of us take for granted--you've got to start testing the insanity waters and finding them nice and warm.
Coupled with the fact that Cumberland is trying to pursue a dream and attempting to make a living doing something that requires intricate body movements and balance, and he was probably ready to punch a one-way ticket on the Disoriented Express.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to make light of the subject. In fact, just the opposite. Cumberland was quickly becoming one of San Diego's best prospects. He was named to the 2010 All-Star Futures game. In December of that year, he was selected as an MiLB.com Organization All-Star.
Here's his career slash line over four seasons:
.316/.380/.430 (.810 OPS)
In addition to those purty numbers, Cumberland has stolen 62 bases and clubbed 13 3B.
Looking at his advanced stats produces further salivation. His wOBA for 2008-2010 averages out to a .377. His wRC+ over that span was an average of 130, meaning his creating 30% more runs than the average.
His BB% for those years averaged out to a solid 8.3%, but his K% is what's really impressive: 11.3%. Obviously, Cumberland is a prototypical top-of-the-order hitter. Hits for average, gets on base, creates runs, doesn't strike out. Drool ensues.
As far as defense is concerned, Cumberland has come up as a SS, but most scouts (and his numbers agree) feel he projects well as a 2B. His overall range factor is a solid 4.13. Even better...at 2B it is 4.65.
San Diego's system has been praised up and down baseball and looks to be in the top 10..maybe even top 5 this year. The farm system doesn't have the elite status prospects like others, but it's loaded with players who are on track to become major league regulars.
The one area, however, that could use more immediate help is middle infield. Prospects like Beamer Weems, Jonathan Galvez, Jeudy Valdez, and Cory Spangenberg are certainly coming, but not until 2-3 years from now. Cumberland, at the ripe old age of 23, could easily rise to the top of the list and contribute in late 2012 or 2013.
Never gonna give you up.
Never gonna let you down.
Never gonna run around and desert you.