Chicago Cubs: Addison Russell showing improvement in second half
By Paul Steeno
Aug 12, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs second baseman Addison Russell (22) hits an RBI single during the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
With the help of his coaches, Russell made an adjustment to his swing during the All-Star break. Cubs manager Joe Maddon explained the change in Russell’s swing mechanics after the Cubs 4-3 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 2.
"He’s in an entirely different stance and setup and start to his swing. It’s much more efficient. He’s getting to fastballs much better. I think he’s making better decisions at the plate. I think he’s at the point where he thinks he can hit anything hard, which may work against you sometimes. He’s in a really good position to hit right now. —Quote obtained by MLB.com writer Carrie Muskat"
This season, Russell has struck out on 28.1 percent of plate appearances. According to data from FanGraphs, he struggles most hitting the fastball, averaging -6.1 runs above average on fastballs this season. Pitchers have picked up on this trend and have thrown Russell some type of fastball on 56.6 percent of pitches. The swing adjustment has helped with these struggles. During the second half of the season, his strikeout percentage is 21.9 percent. During the first half, he struck out on 31 percent of plate appearances.
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