Cullen Large Impresses With Work Ethic
Cullen Large first dislocated his left shoulder during the 2018 season while making a diving stop at third base. That was on May 1, and on June 5, in his seventh game back, he re-aggravated the injury while charging in on a bunt and making a nifty barehanded play.
That put an end to his strong start at low Class A Lansing, when he hit .316/.411/.568 in 27 games. The 2017 fifth-rounder from William & Mary spent the rest of the season rehabilitating his shoulder.
The Blue Jays decided to challenge the 23-year-old Large this season with a promotion to high Class A Dunedin, where he had been the system’s breakout performer. He hit .306/.398/.497 with three home runs through his first 42 games.
Beyond the production, the switch-hitting Large had impressed with his approach at the plate, one that has earned him the notice of player development staff.
"Cullen is an intelligent hitter . . . has awareness of what his body is doing and the work ethic to make adjustments,” farm director Gil Kim said. "He controls the zone and can drive the ball through the middle. He’s made an effort to increase his production from the right-hand side, and we’re encouraged with the work that he’s doing.”
In college Large showed above-average raw power as a middle infielder. At short-season Vancouver that year, he played second base but has since shifted to third. He also has made pro appearances at first base and left field.
"He’s played second base and is working now primarily at third base to increase reps there," Kim said. "He’s partnered well with (Dunedin manager) Cesar Martin to improve his footwork, quickness and body positioning, and we’re impressed with his commitment to his defensive goals.”
Large’s bat, though, remains his calling card and is what has projecting big things for him.
"Cullen is the type of talent who can hit for both average and power in the big leagues while playing reliable defense at multiple spots,” Kim said. "More importantly, he has the type of makeup and is the type of person who can make a positive impact in a winning environment.”