The Cubs' most intriguing Fantasy Baseball prospect made his debut Tuesday night.
No, not Kris Bryant. That was last Friday and it's hard to call Bryant "intriguing" in Fantasy circles because the intrigue is largely over. He was drafted in just about every league, even going as early as the second round in some leagues (seriously). He's here and he's been fabulous so far.
Addison Russell, however, creates a bit of a dilemma for Fantasy owners. He's a consensus Top 5 prospect in the game and he qualifies at shortstop and will qualify at second base in a little over a week.
But can Russell help your Fantasy team as early as this season? Is it worth it to play him in your lineup or try to acquire him in a trade right now?
The CSN Fantasy crew weighs in:
John "The Professor" Paschall
I've tried to look at ways Addison Russell could be a top option at 2B/SS this year and it's hard to see it in standard leagues. He has a solid .897 OPS in his minor league career but standard leagues don't count OPS. He doesn't steal a lot of bases and doesn't hit for power like an Ian Kinsler-type. Also, there's always the chance of hitting a rookie wall later in the year. He has the potential to be a .300 hitter and score some runs if he plays in the "second leadoff" spot in Maddon's lineup or pick up some RBIs if he is slotted in the middle of the order. The other good attribute that Russell offers is position flexibility (SS/2B and maybe even 3B if Kris Bryant moves to the outfield). He's worth picking up (especially in keeper leagues) but I don't foresee a major impact on your fantasy team if you're in a standard league for the rest of 2015.
Addison Russell brings everything to the table for baseball fans of all kind, including Fantasy enthusiasts. First, the good: Russell is extremely polished, with a great approach, an ability to hit line drives to all fields and a career .301/.377/.520 slash line in his minor-league career. He has power and speed and qualifies in the middle infield.
But - there's always a but - he's just 21. As in, he just turned 21 90 days ago. Not even three full months as of this writing. There are going to be ups and downs and he will have plenty of times where he struggles. It's just the nature of baseball, especially at his age. So he's a risk in any league, especially weekly leagues where he may end up mired in a 2-for-20 stretch or something. There's also always the risk that he gets sent back down to Triple-A Iowa if he can't overcome his struggles.
Russell is far from a safe Fantasy option, but he's the kind of high-risk, high-reward that can spark your Fantasy team to a championship. Take the plunge...just make sure you have a backup plan in place.
You know, I'm not so sure Russell is that safe of a bet in standard fantasy leagues. I think the fact that he'll earn second base eligibility in the near future would help him out some, and I do like that - for now, at least - he's batting ninth, with a phenomenal order in front of him. But the fact that his call-up this early in the year was as big of a surprise as it was means he's probably not going to light the fantasy world (or baseball world) on fire. True, the talent pool for second basemen is nothing to write home about, but if you're banking on getting some decent average and some runs out of the position, you're not going to be too competitive with Russell. You either need some plus-power or plus-speed, and Russell just doesn't seem ready to contribute in either of those areas. Maybe he's worth a speculative add since we are so early in the year, but don't drop anyone of any real value.