Chicago Cubs: Top five surprises of the season’s first month

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5) Russell earns earlier-than-expected call-up

It was widely-anticipated that infield prospect Addison Russell would get his first taste of big-league action at some point during the 2015 season. Most had that call-up coming toward the middle of the season or perhaps even after the All-Star Break in mid-July.

However, on April 21, Russell joined the big league club in Pittsburgh, going 0-for-5 with three punchouts in an exciting 9-8 Cubs win in which the visitors tallied three runs in the ninth off Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon.

Since then, Russell has appeared in half-a-dozen games, limping out of the gates to a .160/.160/.240 slash-line in 25 plate appearances. In those roughly two-dozen trips to the plate, the 21-year-old middle infielder has not drawn a walk, while striking out 13 times.

With the success that Kris Bryant had immediately in Chicago, the expectations are sky-high for Russell. With no other viable option in the short-term, expect to see Maddon keep trotting out Russell for the time being, even with his offensive struggles.

Next: 4) Starlin Castro proving he's the real deal