Chicago Cubs: Addison Russell is key to the Cubs’ offense

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Russell struggled in critical situations in 2017

Perhaps, some of Russell’s struggles in 2017 can be traced back to distractions both on and off the field. Now with some of those distractions hopefully behind Russell, he can get back to being a key cog in the Cubs’ offense.

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During the 2017 season, Russell accumulated 352 at-bats. Of those, 125 came while Russell was batting in the five spot in the line-up. The next highest number of at-bats came from the clean-up spot in the order. That means more than half of Russell’s at-bats during the 2017 season came from either the four or five spot in the order.

This is important because it is those positions in the line-up that are important to the run scoring output of a team.

Consider this, Russell logged 162 at-bats with runners on base last season. That is almost as many (190) as he had with no one on-base. Despite having such a large exposure to batting with runners on, Russell did not do much with the opportunity. With men on, Russell slashed just .216/.314/.346. In addition to that, Russell hit just two home runs with runners on and struck out 45 times.

Along with his struggles with men on-base, Russell also had a hard time advancing runners or getting them home with two outs. With men in scoring position and two outs, Russell slashed just .200/.310/.380 with one home run and 19 strikeouts in 50 at-bats.