After being picked out of high school by the Pirates in the 18th round of the 2008 draft, Cunningham destroyed the GCL, hitting .315/.385/.507 with five homers and 11 doubles in 43 games. That quickly made him a sleeper prospect, especially as a shortstop in a system desperate for them. He then tore his ACL in spring training and missed all of the 2009 season, setting him back a full year. Even worse, the injury raises some serious questions about his ability to stay at shortstop in the long-term. He’ll probably start 2010 in West Virginia and hopefully pick up where he left off in 2008.
July 2010 update: After a slow April and an awful May, Cunningham caught on fire in June (this is a common thread in these updates, isn’t it?) for West Virginia, putting up a .317/.404/.573 line. Most interestingly, he drew a bunch of walks (12) after drawing nearly none at all in the seasons first two months (three combined). He’s cooled off a bit in July but is still hitting and walking much better than in the season’s first two months. That’s good news, because his main draw as a prospect is as a middle infielder with a bat. At just 20, there’s plenty of room for improvement and he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.