It’s been a while since Addison Russell was in the news last but rest assured, he hasn’t been slumping. In his last ten games, Russell is hitting .293 with 4 home runs and 14 RBI’s for the Tennessee Smokies. Russell got off to a slow start in 2014 when he was with the Oakland Athletics organization (partly due to injury), but is production has increased dramatically since joining the Cubs.
(stats per baseball-reference.com)
Addison Russell is having a very impressive year and is proving why is he ranked the number six prospect in all of baseball, by MLB.com. In addition to his offensive performance, Russell has continued his wizardry with the leather as well. In 43 games at shortstop for the Smokies, Russell has had 196 chances in the field and has committed just 2 errors. Fielding .990 is impressive for any position on the diamond, never mind at shortstop!
The only part of Russell’s game that we haven’t seen any improvement in this year is his running game. Russell was 16-18 in stolen base attempts in 2012 and 21-24 last season, but in 2014 he is just 6-10. This dip is probably due to his leg injuries earlier in the summer, coupled with the Cubs’ current philosophy on base stealing. However, it is still something to keep an eye on.
At just 20 years old and with only parts of three minor league seasons under his belt, we won’t see Russell in the major leagues this year but it is entirely possible that he makes his major league debut in 2015. Russell will start 2015 in AAA with the Iowa Cubs and could be up with the Chicago Cubs by mid-late next summer, just like Javier Baez this year. However, before we start looking into Russell’s big league future, other questions need to be answered first, such as, who will play shortstop, who will play third base and which infielder will be moved to the outfield? Here’s what we know now: Addison Russell will get a crack at the big leagues and he will play shortstop, his glove is simply too good to even hint at moving him. In all likelihood Starlin Castro will be moved off of shortstop and Kris Bryant will be moved to the outfield, but a strong defensive performance from Bryant at AAA has put a significant wrinkle in the plan. Whatever happens, we will begin to get a better idea of what will take place as we progress into the off-season and into the early months of the 2015 season.
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