Addison Russell
Addison Russell
25-Year-Old ShortstopSS
Chicago Cubs
Suspension
Est. Return 5/1/2019
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Russell was a disappointment at the plate last season and even more of one off the field. It would be silly to believe that the off-field drama did not impact what was happening on the field, because it was too prevalent to be ignored. Russell continues to perform at a high level defensively, but his offensive production has shown no growth the past few seasons, and at best plateaued until dropping into a cavern in 2018. The largest issue at the plate is how poorly Russell performs against righties (career .247/.310/.387 line). A good defender at shortstop, Russell has never been a league average hitter (career-high 95 wRC+ in 2016), but over the last two years his production has completely tanked. His 82 wRC+ over that span is the same mark as Nick Ahmed and Ehire Adrianza. He will miss the first 28 games completing a suspension for his off-the-field actions, but is expected to serve as Chicago's primary shortstop upon his reinstatement. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a one-year, $3.4 million contract with the Cubs in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Preparing for minor-league stint
SSChicago Cubs
Suspension
April 18, 2019
General manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday that Russell (suspension) will begin a minor-league rehab stint next week that is expected to last seven days, Bruce Levine of 670TheScore.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Russell has 11 games left to serve on the 40-game suspension he received last fall for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Since the suspension was levied, Hoyer noted that Russell "has been compliant with everything we have asked him to do and then some," which suggests the Cubs intend to add him back to the active roster when first eligible May 3. The brief stint in the minors should allow Russell to pick up enough at-bats for the Cubs to fell comfortable deploying him as their everyday shortstop once he's activated. Manager Joe Maddon already said earlier this week that Javier Baez would shift over to second base once Russell is reinstated, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
 
 
+19%
OPS vs LHP
2019
No Stats
2018
 
 
+19%
OPS vs LHP
2017
 
 
+20%
OPS vs LHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2017vs Left .778 225 32 5 17 1 .269 .357 .421
Since 2017vs Right .654 625 72 12 64 5 .237 .294 .360
2019vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Left .744 123 14 2 11 1 .273 .344 .400
2018vs Right .626 342 38 3 27 3 .242 .307 .319
2017vs Left .821 102 18 3 6 0 .264 .373 .448
2017vs Right .687 283 34 9 37 2 .230 .279 .408
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
 
 
+12%
OPS on Road
2019
No Stats
2018
 
 
+2%
OPS at Home
2017
 
 
+31%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2017Home .642 378 45 7 36 3 .224 .300 .342
Since 2017Away .722 472 59 10 45 3 .261 .320 .402
2019Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Home .664 209 26 2 20 1 .257 .327 .337
2018Away .652 256 26 3 18 3 .245 .309 .343
2017Home .615 169 19 5 16 2 .184 .266 .349
2017Away .803 216 33 7 27 0 .280 .333 .470
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
It's easy to view Russell's third big-league season as a disappointment, but when you consider that most players his age are still making their way through the upper levels of the minor leagues, you can still find reasons to be optimistic about his future. Shoulder soreness temporarily derailed him in May, and could have contributed to his worst month of the season (.579 OPS), and Russell's first half as a whole (.226/.297/.381) was a step back from his previous levels. In addition to the injury, Russell and his wife started divorce proceedings in June. A foot strain cost Russell six weeks during the second half, but he hit .274/.324/.516 over his final 30 games, and swatted five of his 12 homers during that span. A rebound back to his 2016 numbers doesn't seem out of the question if he's able to secure a place in the middle-third of the Cubs' lineup again to begin 2018, as his glove should keep him on the field as an everyday player when healthy.
There was much to like from Russell in 2016, though his game was far from perfect. On the bright side, he hit 21 home runs and drove in 95 runs from the shortstop position, third and first among NL shortstops, respectively. The negative case for Russell says that he's a poor contact hitter who batted just .238, confirmed by his 135 strikeouts. He has poor speed for a shortstop with only five stolen bases and got lucky with RBI by having 167 at-bats with runners in scoring position, sixth most in the league. It's easy to forget that Russell is only 23 years old, and while he will need to improve his plate discipline going forward, the fact that he's already hit 20 home runs at age 22 suggests an impressive ceiling for the Cubs' shortstop. While this position looks deeper than usual in 2017, Russell is a solid option with a high upside, especially if he has some better luck on balls in play (.277 BABIP last season).
The numbers weren't great, but Russell's rookie season was still a success, as he was called up early in the year to play in the infield and eventually took Starlin Castro's job at shortstop. Russell spent much of the year batting ninth, where manager Joe Maddon could protect him a bit, and played more than 60 games at both second and short. He will be just 22 years old on Opening Day and presumably starting at short, but needs to work on making more consistent contact and improve his numbers against left-handed pitching (.527 OPS). Keep in mind that he was one of the top prospects in baseball going into last year and consider throwing an extra buck his way on draft day, just know that it may be difficult for him to work out of the bottom-third of a stacked Cubs lineup.
Given that the A's didn't make the World Series after acquiring Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in July, they may curse the day the traded away Russell, who immediately moved near the top of a very good Cubs prospect list after the deal. While Starlin Castro is blocking Russell at the big-league level, expect the Cubs to still find a way to get Russell into the lineup as soon as he's ready (which could be very soon). The 21-year-old infielder hit 13 home runs in 242 Double-A at-bats last year and topped .300 in the process. NL-only ultra-leaguers take note: he may be the best minor league prospect not already kept by someone in your league.
Russell was selected 11th overall in the 2012 draft and is universally considered the top prospect in the A's system. The fact that he plays a premium position makes his star burn even brighter. After an electrifying debut in 2012, Russell encountered a bit more trouble in 2013, hitting only .269, but he still contributed 29 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs and 21 stolen bases, all very impressive numbers for a 19-year-old in his first full season, and at High-A, no less. Russell has a ton of talent, but he needs to work on cutting down his strikeouts (he had 116 in the minors in 2013), but he did start to improve upon that in the 2013 Arizona Fall League, striking out only 15 times in 85 at-bats. Russell will likely start the 2014 season at Double-A Midland, but he certainly is on the fast track for the A's and will rise through the organization quite rapidly.
The A's used their first-round pick (11th overall) on Russell, a high school shortstop from Florida. Russell had an exceptional season after signing in July, hitting .415 in 26 games in the Arizona Rookie League and then .340 in 53 at-bats in the New York-Penn League. After those performances, he earned a promotion to Low-A for the end of the year. It is possible he may get too big for shortstop and have to move over to third base, but Russell was drafted for his bat. Scouting reports indicate that he has a lot of raw power and can drive the ball to all fields. Russell will likely start the year back at Low-A Burlington after holding his own there during a small 16-game sample in 2012.
More Fantasy News
Comes to terms
SSChicago Cubs
Suspension
January 11, 2019
Russell (suspension) agreed to a one-year, $3.4 million deal with the Cubs, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
ANALYSIS
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Tendered contract
SSChicago Cubs
Suspension
November 30, 2018
Russell (suspension) was tendered a non-guaranteed contract for the 2019 season by the Cubs on Friday.
ANALYSIS
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Handed 40-game suspension
SSChicago Cubs
Suspension
October 3, 2018
Russell accepted and will not appeal a 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Suspension looming
SSChicago Cubs
Not Injury Related
October 3, 2018
Russell is expected to be suspended around 25-to-40 games for violating the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com reports.
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Remains on administrative leave
SSChicago Cubs
Not Injury Related
September 27, 2018
Russell's stay on administrative leave was extended through Sunday by Major League Baseball, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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