Over the last week we’ve been profiling prospects from the Athletics organization who were ranked among the top 115 prospects in all of baseball over at Seedlings to Stars, so far the A’s have placed 4 on the list. They have 1 more though, the highest ranked prospect in their system, Addison Russell who comes in at number 43. The 2012 first roung pick played from Rookie ball all the way to High A ball, and excelled immediately. Russell posted a .369/.432/.594 slash line in 224 PA with 7 home runs. He also stole 16 bases in the process.
There have been some questions as to whether Russell projects as a shortstop indeed, or if he’ll eventually move to 3rd base. He is just 19 years old so his body surely still has some filling out to do. That fact that he’s so young and already in High A ball though puts him on the fast track to making it to Oakland.
He’ll most definitely begin the 2013 season with the Stockton Ports, and should he continue to excel he may find himself in Double A Midland by season’s end. The A’s can afford to be patient with Russell though, and allow him to adjust to a full season of baseball before promoting him again.
The signing of Hiro Nakajima buys a good amount of time for Russell to slowly mature over the next two seasons. The expectations for Russell will be to simply continue to show improvement and progress, but he won’t be expected to tear the cover off the ball like he did in 2012. Russell may be like a fine filet mignon, needing to slowly be cooked in order to bring out the finest qualities, Russell should be nurtured gradually so he can be the best overall player he can be.
Russell will be in big league camp in a few weeks, which is a sign of just how highly the Athletics view him. Players at his stage of development don’t typically get invited to major league camp unless it’s mandated in their contracts, so this is truly a special case. Chances are Russell may be on his way out when the first round of cuts take place, but they want him to just get a little taste of what it’s like to play with the big boys. That will be an experience Russell can use and build upon as he heads to Stockton to begin the season with the Ports.