Originally written on Baseball News Source  |  Last updated 6/30/13
After a successful first season in professional baseball in 2012, Oakland Athletics top prospect Addison Russell got off to a slow start to the 2013 season, a slow start which has recently begun to shed throughout the month of June.A 11th-overall draft pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of Pace High School (Pace, Florida), Russell quickly ascended the ranks of the Oakland farm system, playing across three levels in 2012. In time spent between rookie league, short-season A, and Low-A ball, Russell posted a .369 batting average and OBP/SLG/OPS line of .432/.594/1.027 in 55 games.Finishing the season in the full season Midwest League, Russell turned in an outstanding freshman season, displaying plus baseball fundamentals for a newly drafted, 18 year old prospect. In terms of offensive ability, Russell displayed great bat speed and solid plate discipline, showcasing the intangibles that have him being projected as an all-around hitter with decent pop and the ability to hit the ball to all fields.Defensively, Russell impressed many in 2012 by performing very solidly at shortstop, as he possesses good range, a strong arm, and strong, yet quick hands.Following last year’s draft, questions surrounded Russell as to whether he would have to be moved to third at the next level, but his defensive skills have been solid at short and his bat projects to hold up well at the position.Despite the success of last season, it appeared that Russell was destined for a “sophomore slump” following a dismal start to the 2013 season. In 15 games in April, Russell batted .224 with a .379 SLG, only to follow up with an even more inconsistent month of May, wherein he batted .208 with a .280 OBP.However, it appears that Russell has turned the corner in the month of June, returning to the form that impressed many late last season. In 21 games this month, Russell has batted .337 with three home runs and 15 RBI, while boasting a strong OBP/SLG/OPS line of .372/.640/1.012. Russell held onto a 14-game hitting streak throughout much of June, which saw the Oakland prospect garner bat .411 and collect 13 XBH.While he has held onto his recent success for much of the past month, it is unlikely that Russell will receive a promotion to Double-A Midland at some point this season.If Oakland does decide to give Russell a promotion, it will be in the final weeks of the season, as adding Russell to the Midland roster before the playoffs (provided Midland makes the playoffs) may be beneficial for him, as he will be able to get some valuable experience at a more advanced level before transitioning to Double-A ball next season.At this point in the season and with what we have seen from Russell, the Oakland organization should be very optimistic about their shortstop of the future, whose advanced intelligence of and approach to the game should allow him to quickly ascend the Oakland farm system over the next two seasons.
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