Kris Bryant won the awards. Kyle Schwarber grabbed the headlines in the post-season. Jorge Soler showed a lot of the promise of what could be one day. And Addison Russell, well he just flashed the leather throughout the season making highlight reel after highlight reel play.
The Cubs’ 21-year old rookie shortstop, as Pat Hughes would introduce him as he read Joe Maddon’s lineup, had an excellent season in the field. First at second base, then at short, Russell was so smooth on defense while showing steady improvement at the plate.
The Cubs called up Addison Russell well before anyone, including the front office, thought they would. Russell made his debut on April 21 at second base and did a good job learning how to play the position at the Major League level.
Russell held his own offensively hitting ninth in the lineup and flashed the power that most scouts think he will hit with on a consistent basis. Russell batted .226/.296/.354 in his first 71 games with 16 doubles and five home runs for a .650 OPS. Russell actually hit his first big league homer before Kris Bryant went yard for the first time at Miller Park.
After the break and the position change, Russell looked a lot more comfortable and his offensive numbers and approach improved. Russell finished the second half with a .259/.318/.427 slash line. In his final 71 games of the regular season, Russell hit 13 doubles, a triple and eight home runs for a .744 OPS while cutting down on the strikeouts.
The move to shortstop not only helped his team, but offensively, Russell hit .259/.315/.465 with a .780 OPS. And in his first 70 games at Wrigley Field, Russell batted .258/.320/.444 with 16 doubles, a triples and eight home runs for a .764 OPS.
Addison Russell played 142 games in his rookie season and hit .242/.307/.389 with 29 doubles, a triples and 13 home runs for a .696 OPS.
In the field, Russell was ESPN’s Defensive Player of the Month for September. Russell ranked second in baseball with nine defensive runs saved in the month, only Jason Heyward (10) had more. And for the season, Russell ranked fourth in defensive runs saved in all of baseball at both shortstop and second base.
While waiting for the next Cubs rumor to dissect, enjoy Addison Russell highlights … and click here for more.
Addison Russell will be at shortstop for the Cubs on Opening Day at Angels Stadium on April 4. And it should be fun watching him create new plays for the highlight reel throughout his first-full season in the majors.