Addison Russell #31 – 2013 Top 100
Date of Birth: January 23rd, 1994(age 19)
Origin: 1st Round Pick(#11 overall) in 2012 out of Pace HS(FL)
JD Sussman: Russell underwent a drastic metamorphosis resulting from Oakland drafting him 11th overall in June. Prior to being drafted rumors suggested Russell would need to shift from shortstop to third base due to his muscular but bulky frame. However, Russell worked hard to overhaul his body and now has a lean athletic build that is conducive to remaining at short. As an 18-year-old, Russell benefited from the joint decision to move the signing deadline up nearly a month as he was able to play 55 games split across three levels of competition. He raked at each stop, showcasing strong contact skills and projecting for above average to plus power. He’ll likely start the year with the Beloit Snappers of the Midwest League, but he should easily reach High-A Stockton.
Jeff Reese: The transformation actually happened during the winter/spring of his senior season. He looked like a future third baseman during that preceding summer but got himself into better shape and reacquired some of that lost athleticism during the spring. As a prospect who had been through the summer showcase gauntlet during his underclassman years and labeled as one of the best high school prospects throughout that time period, it’s not too surprising that his stock slipped as a junior. That seems to happen more often than not, whether it be others catching up to the players who matured early or simply prospect fatigue. The Athletics surprised most by taking him as early as they did, but it certainly looks like a wise move seven months later.
Steve Kuperman: I’ll be honest, I’m kind of hoping that Addison Russell has a terrible year at the plate. It’s not because I doubt his talent, because his talent both at the plate and in the field should not be in doubt. It’s not because I’m annoyed at the hype that his amazing pro debut created, because the hype is certainly deserved. It’s because for all his talent, his approach appeared to be completely lacking against even passable off-speed pitches last year. I’d like to see him spend all of 2013 in the California League; the velocity might not be as premium as he’d see in the Midwest League, but the quality of breaking balls and change ups would be significantly greater. I believe in his potential to be a star and in his makeup, so he’s exactly the sort of kid who should be pushed hard. A statistically bad year in the minors means less than nothing to me if in the process the player learns what he needs to do in order to make it big. Ranking well on a top prospects list now means even less to me if the player has flaws that will lead him to falter later. Russell is one heck of a prospect, with impressive bat speed and true shortstop actions. You don’t need me to tell you that, but I do think it’s worth saying that this is a kid that I’m looking to stick with for the long haul.
Fantasy Outlook by JD Sussman
The perfect blend of power and speed? While he’s not the best shortstop prospect in baseball, it’s possible he is the best fantasy commodity at the position. Russell projects to stick at short and hit for plus power. Russell should return to the Midwest League but don’t be surprised if he reaches Double-A in 2013. He’s a must own in all keeper formats, and the brave would be wise to take a flyer on him 2014 redraft leagues.