Over the last year, we’ve watched Chicago Cubs’ third base Kris Bryant dominate every league in which he’s played. MVP. Home run records. There has been no let down from him. And Cubs’ fans can’t wait to get a glimpse of him this year at Wrigley Field. And according to Baseball Prospectus? He’s not even our best. It’s Addison Russell.
The kid that hit 43 home runs, knocked in 110 runs, and batted .325 between Double and Triple-A isn’t even our best according to them? I’m not even angry or disappointed. I’m flat-out giddy. Because if Bryant is the one we’re excited about, and we can base that excitement on his numbers – we can be just as much so about Russell and his potential.
As our Jacob Misener recently covered, the Cubs put seven in the Prospectus Top 101. BP seemed to favor the more “complete” players, such as Russell at No. 2 over the slugging prowess of Bryant. He’s still in the top 5, I promise you he isn’t losing sleep over this either.
Before I get into Russell, let me point out that Billy McKinney is No. 81 on that list. Another piece of the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel deal with the A’s. And we got Hammel back. I’d call that trade a win. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are getting good at this. Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta worked out well for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger. Another win.
But I digress.
Russell has played three seasons in minor league ball now, most of that with the A’s organization. He dealt with some injury issues before coming to Chicago, but finished at Double-A, batting .295 with 13 home runs and 45 RBIs in 63 games between two levels. Minus a little hiccup when the A’s moved him to Triple-A (1/13, 9 SO), he’s had success at every level.
While his power numbers aren’t as flashy, scouting reports see him as a 20-30 home run guy in a 600 plate appearance season. He’s got a quick swing, but much more compact and under control than Javier Baez. His plate discipline is solid, but will chase balls out of the zone.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs could again look to Japan to address a major offseason need
- Cubs need to walk the walk this winter after talking the talk
- Cubs, 2 superstar free agents-to-be have ‘mutual interest’
- Where’s the love for Cubs prospect Matt Mervis?
- Alec Mills shocked Cubs fans, baseball world with 2020 no-hitter
Defensively is where he sets himself apart. He’s a sure-handed fielder with a solid arm. Although not openly discussed, it’s possible he could make a move to third base if ever deemed necessary. He looks like a seasoned veteran in the field, making the plays he needs to, while putting himself in the right position from pitch to pitch.
Russell will have a non-roster invite to camp, and will get a chance to show the Cubs more of what he can bring in the near future. The injuries may have held him back last season, but he’s primed to be right on the heels of Bryant – having the Cubs in the enviable position of possibly having TOO MUCH talent in the infield.
It’s a great problem. I’ll take it all day.