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Rascal Brandon Cunniff Moves to Atlanta Braves

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Former Rascal RHP Brandon Cunniff was added to the Atlanta Braves roster. He will fill the void left on the roster after Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton, Jr. were traded to the Padres.


The reliever spent portions of two seasons in River City and parts of three seasons in the Frontier League. Cunniff is the fourth former Rascal to reach the Major Leagues.

The Marlins selected Cunniff in the 27th round of the 2010 draft from California State University San Bernardino. He pitched for the GCL Marlins and the Class A Jamestown Jammers in his first professional season. He was released after one year in the system and joined the Rascals prior to the 2011 season.

In 72 appearances for the Rascals over a season and a half, the righty went 6-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 13 saves. He was traded to Southern Illinois Miners amid the 2012 season and won the league championship. In his three seasons in the Frontier League, Cunniff was 7-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 25 saves in 93 games.

The Braves purchased Cunniff’s contract from the Miners in June 2013 and assigned him to the Advanced-A Lynchburg Hillcats. He finished the season with 1.99 ERA in 20 games for the Atlanta affiliate. He began the next season in Lynchburg before being promoted to the Mississippi Braves of the Double-A Southern League. In his two combined stops, Cunniff was 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 42 games pitched.

Cunniff spent Spring Training in the Braves major league camp this year. He was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett prior to the beginning of the regular season. Following the trade of Kimbrel, though, the Braves needed another arm in the bullpen and promoted Cunniff.

"Words cannot adequately express how happy I am for ‘niff,” Manager Steve Brook said of his former player. “He is a quiet, hard-working, humble leader who deserves this opportunity. We wish him continued success in the Atlanta Braves system and believe he has a long and successful major league career ahead of him."

Cunniff joins SS Justin Christian (Yankees), LHP Joe Thatcher (Brewers, Astros), and RHP Josh Kinney (Cardinals, White Sox, Mariners) as the only former Rascals to reach the Majors.