Chicago Cubs: Ranking the team’s top five MVP candidates

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

Chicago Cubs: #4 – Addison Russell

Russell’s early-season struggles were no secret. Even his manager, Joe Maddon, couldn’t overlook the obvious as his shortstop carried a .231 average with no homers and only four RBI into early May.

Since May 2 though, Russell has been much better. In that span, Addi batted .303. While he still isn’t hitting as many home runs as we’ve become accustomed to seeing, he is slugging .432 in that same stretch of games (compared to a .308 SLUG prior).

Better than you think, all-around

Russell hasn’t been as sharp as often defensively as in years past, but he’s still a great glove man at shortstop. While there has been talk that perhaps Javy would be a better shortstop, the fact remains Russell is among the league’s best with the glove. Fangraphs has Russell ranked as the fifth-best defensive shortstop in baseball, and the best in the NL, edging out Milwaukee’s Orlando Arcia. They also have him as the MLB leader for the position in Defensive Runs Saved (11).

The table above lists the top three Cubs in terms of production in wins as compared to losses. That Addi bats over .200 points higher in those victories indicates a considerable amount of value to the team. Another interesting side note here is that Russell has a single RBI in the 28 team games he’s played in that ended in a Cubs loss.

As Russell goes, at least through half of the 2018 season, so go the Cubs.