Analyzing the Mets’ external options at shortstop
Oct. 14, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell plays for the Mesa Solar Sox during an Arizona Fall League game against the Scottsdale Scorpions at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oh, what could have been. Russell was selected 11th overall out of high school by the Oakland A’s in the 2012 draft, just one pick ahead of Gavin Cecchini, also a high school shortstop, the Mets’ selection. That’s not to say I don’t feel like Cecchini can eventually become a productive MLB player. Cecchini had a very solid 2014 in Single-A and is still only 20, but he’s not even in the same league as a prospect such as Russell.
Since Russell has become a professional he has torn the cover off the ball, sporting a .300/.379/.522 career triple slash in 233 minor league games. His only real issue is that this past spring he tore his hamstring. Even with that, Russell is a top three or four prospect on just about every prominent ranking, and he projects as a future superstar if all goes as planned. Keith Law wrote on his midseason Top 50 Prospect update:
"A torn hamstring robbed Russell of most of April and May, but he’s healthy now and hasn’t lost anything at the plate or in the field. He has outstanding hands and plenty of arm for a shortstop, which makes up for slightly limited range… Those great hands also serve him well at the plate, helping him to accelerate his bat quickly and get good loft in his finish to create line-drive power."
If I’m Theo Epstein, as soon as Russell is ready I’m trading Castro to make room for him. If I’m Sandy Alderson, I’m calling Epstein to see what it would take to get the soon to be 21-year-old. If it’s Noah Syndergaard and Kevin Plawecki, I bite the bullet and pull the trigger. I’m guessing it would take more than that, and Russell most likely won’t be available anyway, but still, he’s a potential star at a position that doesn’t have many. Because of that, he is even more valuable.