Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is a slick fielder that provided the team with outstanding defensive upgrade at shortstop in 2015 after replacing Starling Castro at the position. He provided some pop with the bat hitting 13 home runs and driving in 54 runs. He did fan 149 times, a number that I feel will decline in his second season in the Windy city. I expect his defense to improve along side his bat.
Russell has shown more pop in Spring Training this spring hitting six home runs. I try not to get too excited about Spring Training numbers, but I feel that he will have a break out offensive season. Last season he slashed only .242/.307/.381, but showed flashes of his hitting skills. In his short minor league career, he has hit for average. When we look back at the end of the season we see a better slash line, and I feel he will close to 20 home runs, and have a higher batting average. As mentioned in the previous paragraph expect adjustments at the plate to cut down on his overall strike out totals.
The key for Russell will be his health. Can he avoid having hamstring problems? That is something that has hindered him in the minors, and reared its ugly head in the playoffs last causing him to miss the entire National League Championship Series. if there was a pick to click from the offensive side with the Cubs, I'm picking Russell to hit 18 home runs with 62 RBI this season, and hit for .270 average. Over speculation? I don't think so, I believe he will hit.