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The Top Ten
1. Addison Russell
Height/Weight: 6’0’’ 195 lbs.
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Pace High School (Pace, FL)
2012 Stats: .415/.488/.717 at complex level AZL (26 games); .340/.386/.509 at short-season Vermont (13 games); .310/.369/.448 at Low-A Burlington (16 games)
The Tools: 6 potential hit; 6 potential power; 6 arm; 7 glove
What Happened in 2012: Russell showed up at the professional level with a better body and a better bat than expected, hitting his way to full-season ball as an 18-year-old.
Strengths: Special hands; super quick with the bat; good present strength; can drive the ball all over the diamond; very good fastball hitter; will already shows game power and should develop at least solid-average power at maturity; plus-plus actions at shortstop; soft hands; arm is left-side strong.
Weaknesses: Lacks plus run and range isn’t crazy; actions are great, but footwork can get clumsy; eager fastball hitter; can shift weight early and end up on front foot on off-speed; new body disbelief.
Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star player
Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; moving fast. with legit skills, but only 19; body projection key to future at shortstop.
Fantasy Future: Russell can rake from a premium position; he could hit .280-plus with high doubles/20 HR.
The Year Ahead: Russell could be special, with a 6/6 potential bat at a premium defensive position. The ultimate role projection is tied to his ability to stick at shortstop, which appears to be the case at this stage of development, but its difficult to project what his body will look like at maturity. The hands/actions are legit, and the arm is plus, so if the lateral range holds steady, Russell can play the position at the highest level. He could jump to the California League to start 2013, and it wouldn’t shock many talent evaluators if the 19-year-old finishes the season at the Double-A level. If you are looking for a player that could be the top prospect in baseball at this time next year, Russell is a good candidate.
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