The youth movement in Chicago continues on the North Side today, as the Cubs have called up shortstop Addison Russell. Russell is MLB.com’s #5 overall prospect, and was the key piece in the deal that sent Jeff Samardzija to Oakland last July.
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The 21 year old Russell has destroyed pitching at every stop along the way. In 11 games for AAA Iowa this year, he was hitting .318 with nine RBI. The Cubs only had him down there so he could get used to playing second base every day. They are happy with the results.
This will move incumbent second baseman Arismendy Alcantara to a utility role. This role will suit him well, seeing as he can play every position but catcher and first base. Alcantara could still see enough at-bats to be useful in deep leagues, but make sure you monitor his at bats.
Russell could be a good add in all leagues. He has 38 homers and 43 steals in the minors to go with his .300 average. He is a solid bet for a 15/15 rookie season, which can help you at second base in any league. He is only eligible at shortstop right now. He will be more valuable at second base, and he should have that eligibility as well by the end of the month.
White Cleat Beat
The struggles of Javier Baez have accelerated Russell’s ascent to the major leagues. It was widely believed that Baez would take over at second base this year, and the question was what they were going to do with Russell. Now the tables have turned. Baez is the odd man out.
Those of you that are hanging on to Baez in keeper and dynasty leagues should continue to be patient. He has no clear path to the majors now, but that can change if Russell struggles.
If Russell does well, and Baez starts hitting, then the Cubs have a tough decision to make. Do they trade Starlin Castro or Javier Baez? Do they try to move either Baez or Kris Bryant to left field? Stay tuned to As The Cubs Turn!
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