Chicago Cubs: Russell’s rapidly rising stock
In his first taste of professional action, Addison Russell absolutely torched opposing pitching. Between Rookie-level, Low-A and Class-A action, the Oakland prospect put up a staggering .369/.432/.594 slash line.
And Billy Beane was licking his chops. He knew even then he had a special talent in Russell. Given payroll limitations in Oakland, the Athletics’ success hinged (and still does, to a degree) on the success of their young players. Although not quite ready to take the next step, all eyes were on the young infielder.
Russell spent 2013 at High-A Stockton, coming back to earth a bit, batting .282/.361/.435. He also got a cup of coffee with Triple-A Sacramento, but looked lost, going 1-for-13 with nine strikeouts in three games.
Early in 2014, Oakland jumped out of the gates and dominated, going 18-9 in April and 17-9 in June, prompting Beane to stoke the fires far ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. He and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein worked the phones regularly regarding the A’s big need – frontline starting pitchers.
Then, things started to move.