Kris Bryant is exiting the minor leagues. While he will maintain his official prospect eligibility for a time, it is all but certain that we will soon have to cross his name off the top of the Bleacher Nation Top 40 Prospects List. And we’ll have to cross off number two Jorge Soler as well.
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the new Top Prospect of the Cubs Organization, Addison Russell! If you have not brushed up on this infield prospect while reveling in all the pre-season and early-season excitement around Bryant and Soler, now is the time to get on the latest prospect bandwagon.
(Apologies, by the way, to jack-of-all-trades Cubs prospect Anthony Giansanti:
Russell is a disciplined hitter who has a chance to hit for a good average, with better than average power, and he shouldn’t be prone to elevated strikeout totals. Defensively, he can do it. He has the arm strength for short or third, but a slight oddity in his throwing motion may make him a better fit at third or second. Or first. Or the outfield. Or… Ok, just write all the numbers from three through nine on a sheet of paper, close your eyes and stab at one. You hit a position Russell can play (with the possible exception of center field, but that is only a possible exception).
As for when he will be ready… now-ish? From what I saw in Tennessee last season and on video so far this spring, Russell needs less polish time in Triple A than any prospect to come through the Cubs organization since I started doing this. Pre-season I had him projected for mid-August at the latest, but a promotion in early May would not surprise me one bit. When the Cubs need him, he’ll be ready.
Nor do I think they’ll specifically wait for the Super Two date in June to pass first. I doubt they rush Russell just to get him on the infield (which already features Starlin Castro, now Kris Bryant, and eventually (probably) Javier Baez again), but I don’t see any reason to stall him either. If another injury occurs and the Cubs need an infielder, whether that happens tomorrow or in mid-July, he’ll be ready.
But in the meantime, he’s the new best prospect in the best farm system in baseball.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – It was scheduled as a doubleheader, but only Game One was played due to
Bryant hitting all the balls into the next county another dose of rain. The Cubs won that one game, though, by a final of 10-7.
Tennessee – The Smokies won their home opener by a score of 5-4.
Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach was rained out again. That is their third rain out this week.
South Bend – In another ten inning contest, South Bend lost 7-6.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Bryant only had one measly hit in 4 at bats. Sure, it happened to be a 3 run homer, but still. He also had another homer robbed from him at the fence in right.
- [Iowa] The New Number One, on the other hand, finished 3 for 4 with a double, scored twice, and drove in 3 of his own. I should also note that Russell did all of that as a second baseman, not a shortstop.
- [Iowa] Junior Lake did not enter the game until the 6th inning and still finished 2 for 2 with a double. Since this was supposed to be part of a doubleheader, the game only went 7 innings.
- [Iowa] Rubi Silva also finished with a double as part of his 2 for 4 night.
- [Iowa] Eric Jokisch did not have a good game. Over 3.2 innings he gave up 4 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks. On the good side, he did strike out 4.
- [Iowa] Armando Rivero also did not have a good day. He survived 0.2 innings while allowing 3 runs on 3 hits.
- [Tennessee] Corey Black struck out 5 over 4 innings in this one, but he needed 77 pitches to do it. He also gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk.
- [Tennessee] Two hit games were tallied by Dan Vogelbach, Willson Contreras (including a double), and Stephen Bruno. Bruno also stole his first base of the season.
- [Tennessee] Pin-Chieh Chen may have saved the game in the sixth inning when he picked up an outfield assist by throwing out at home a runner who tried to score from second on a base hit to left.
- [South Bend] No extra base hits today for Cael Brockmeyer, but he did finish 2 for 4 with a walk.
- [South Bend] Trey Martin and Jason Vosler (with a double) also had 2 hits.
- [South Bend] Charcer Burks finished with 3 hits and an outfield assist at home.
- [South Bend] Jeremy Null got his strikeouts (6 K in 6 IP), but he also allowed 2 runs on 7 hits. Trevor Clifton gave up a hit and struck out one in his inning of relief.
- If you missed reading it yesterday, take some to check out the latest reports on the Cubs International Free Agent strategy. It sounds like the Cubs are being very aggressive, throwing around a lot of money, and probably are not yet done lining up deals for the start of the July 2 signing period. It remains to be seen if the Cubs will land any talents as notable as Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, or Jen-Ho Tseng this year, not to mention some really interesting guys that should emerge from the Caribbean summer leagues this summer and whom we’ll discuss later in the season, but it certainly looks like the farm system is in for another sizable infusion of talent. I like it.
- And thanks to Knoxville area reader Brandon Howes and photographer Jeff Waymire, here’s a nice preview of a small slice of what you have to look forward to in terms of your Bryant-less farm system coverage over the rest of this season.
— Brandon Howes (@bhowes34) April 17, 2015