Four days after Kris Bryant made his Major League debut, the Cubs have called up the second best prospect in the system. Addison Russell received the call Monday night, one he almost didn’t answer, and he will be in the lineup Tuesday night in Pittsburgh playing second base for the Cubs.
Injuries and the lack of production from Arismendy Alcantara moved up the Cubs’ timeframe on Addison Russell. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have not addressed the reasons behind Russell’s promotion yet, but the writing was on the wall the front office was going in that direction when Russell was moved off short in Iowa and Marty Pevey was told to play him at second base until further notice.
Addison Russell showed the Cubs he was ready for the big leagues during Spring Training. Russell has a mature approach to the game and his preparation and routine really impressed the front office, Joe Maddon and the coaching staff. Most felt in the spring, that if Russell played on another team he would have been on the club’s Opening Day roster.
Russell has only 14 games on his resume at the Triple-A level after playing 63 games in Double-A last year in the A’s and Cubs systems. Russell was 14-for-46 in 11 games for Iowa with four doubles and a home run. Russell doubled twice in the second game of Monday’s twin bill after he broke up Scott Baker’s bid for a seven-inning perfect game in the opener. Russell singled with two outs in the seventh on a two-strike pitch.
Ashley Marshall talked to Addison Russell after he received the call Monday night from Marty Pevey. And Russell admitted to Marshall that he almost didn’t answer his phone. Russell had not programmed his manager’s number in to his phone and he didn’t recognize the number. Russell did and Pevey told him “this is the call man.”
Russell called his family, talked to his mother, father and his two sisters. His little brother had already called it a day. Russell was living in a hotel in Iowa because his apartment wasn’t ready yet.
Tommy Birch spoke with Russell on Monday night. Russell told the Des Moines Register he wasn’t expecting the call at all. Russell is excited and admitted, “I think that I could be a great asset for the Cubs in the future and help out the team.”
All of the projections on Addison Russell have been based on him playing shortstop. Jim Callis posted a scouting report on Russell. “He has explosive bat speed and an advanced approach for his age. He makes consistent hard contact, projects to be a plus hitter for both average and power, and has average speed and good instincts on the bases.” According to Baseball America, Russell “has quick hands and he’s nearly impossible to beat with a fastball when he’s looking for it and stays back on off speed stuff, trusting his fast hands and making plenty of high-impact contact.”
And according to Carrie Muskat, when Addison Russell makes his debut Tuesday night he will be the youngest player in the National League.