Friday, April 17, 2015

Kris Bryant Officially Promoted, Putting Addison Russell on Deck

So now that it's settled and Kris Bryant will make his MLB debut on Friday, Cubs fans should begin watching and hoping for Addison Russell's arrival. With a chance to play second base at AAA Iowa during Javy Baez's absence over the last week, Russell is crushing the ball, hitting .355 with seven RBIs in seven games. This follows a spring training where we saw him hit .317 over 40 at-bats while looking like he belonged on the field as much as anyone else.

Before he was traded to the Cubs in the Jeff Samardzija deal last summer, Russell was on track to open this year as Oakland's starting shortstop. Although the middle infield in his new organization seemed fairly jammed up when he arrived, things are slowly working themselves out. Starlin Castro continues to lead Chicago in hitting and has a firm grasp on the shortstop spot for now, but second base seems open due to infield injuries (Tommy La Stella, Mike Olt) and slow starts (Baez, Arismendy Alcantara).

With Chris Coghlan off to a hot start in left field (.304 with two home runs), the lineup is really strong. But imagine it with Russell hitting .300 from the 2B spot.

I imagine the Cubs lineup would look something like this:

1. Fowler
2. Rizzo
3. Soler
4. Bryant
5. Coghlan
6. Castro
7. catcher
8. pitcher
9. Russell

We knew we wouldn't see this lineup coming out of spring training two weeks ago. Now, however, it's only a phone call away. Could we see it by May 1st? June 1st?

First, of course, we'll focus on Bryant and his adjustment to his new home. But if he takes off quickly, as many are expecting him to, "Russell Watch" will begin shortly.

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