Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Addison Russell is 21 years old, and, in a perfectly healthy world, he might not even be in the big leagues right now (let alone having been up for most of the season). He’s gone through ups and downs offensively like most young players – actually, like most players – but some adjustments of late seem to be paying off. He’s driving the ball more, striking out much less, and walking more. Since July 7, Russell is hittingĀ .261/.358/.391 with a 13.2% BB rate and a 18.9% K rate. That’s all good for a 111 wRC+. Good stuff, Addison.

But even setting the offense aside, one thing Russell has always done is play killer defense at second. You know, despite the fact that he’s learning the position on the fly at the big league level.

He just keeps doing things like what he did last night up the middle. He had absolutely no business making this play:

How many other second baseman even come close to that ball, let along pop up quickly enough, transfer quickly enough, and throw hard enough to get the runner at first? That’s just a silly play in a season full of silly plays by Russell.

How good has Russell been?

By UZR/150, he’s the best defensive second baseman in all of baseball. By defensive value, he’s second behind only Dee Gordon.

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