Hunter, 24, was originally selected by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. In 2009, our sister site MadFriars.com rated Hunter the top prospect in the Padres' system. He was a 2010 Texas League mid-season All-Star and was added to the Padres' 40-man roster that winter to protect him from the 2010 Rule 5 Draft.
Last spring, Hunter made the Padres' opening day roster. San Diego showed little patience, however, as the left-handed hitter was optioned out to Triple-A on April 10 and did not return to the majors.
In October, Hunter was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics but the centerfielder was outrighted to the minors the following month.
A glut of outfielders in the A's system meant Hunter was buried. Farm director Keith Lieppman recently told our OaklandClubhouse.com partner that despite his pedigree, Hunter was slated to open the 2012 season in Double-A. He had been a non-roster invitee to A's major league camp, but was reassigned on March 11.
In six minor league seasons, the Georgia native has a line of .291/.347/.392. Hunter has 340 RBI in 671 MiLB games.
With projected Memphis outfielders Mark Hamilton and Aaron Luna expected to open the season on the shelf, and St. Louis also breaking camp with Skip Schumaker and Allen Craig on the disabled list, the Redbirds were short of outfield help.
Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com contributed to this story.
As always, to reference full-team rosters for 2012 and prior seasons, click on "Minor League Rosters," located in the red area on the center of the page under The Cardinal Nation logo. Links to our extensive player profile pages can be found there or you can simply click on any highlighted player name on this, or any article on the site.
Finally, don't forget the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog, where you can view the entire Cardinals organization of 253 players from top to bottom, by level and position.
Not yet a subscriber to The Cardinal Nation? Sample all of our in-depth Cardinals major and minor league news, interviews and much more, free for seven days. Monthly, three-month and annual subscriptions are available. Try us out today!
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his minor league features during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
© 2012 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.