This post is gonna look so prescient when Starlin Castro is traded to the Yankees at the Winter Meetings. What, you thought the Yankees were going into the season with Brendan Ryan at short? Zelous Wheeler? Richard Roundtree? He’s a complicated man that no one understands but his woman. I tried to have Cougs agree to the Theme from Shaft as our first dance. Couldn’t pull it off. More props to you if you can. Or maybe Castro will be traded to the Mets. Then again, the Mets have said they’re moving on from Ruben Tejada for about six years and are still holding on tight. Someone needs to rip that deflated life preserver from their arms before Tejada is One-Eyed Willy next to the sunken treasure that is the Mets’ recent fortunes. So, the first thing we know about Addison Russell is Billy Beane traded him away. This is obviously a strike against him. The last prospect Beane gave up on was Brett Wallace, and that was partly because Wallace looks like his face is constantly pressed against a window and that’s disconcerting. Right now, it appears Beane got the worst side of this Russell trade. Maybe he shouldn’t have been in such a rush to get back to the gym to pump iron and waited to negotiate a better deal. It’s still early though, and prospects can flame out. Russell, however, doesn’t look headed in that direction. Russell looks like he could be better than Castro as early as next year. Second thing we know about Russell, is he’s got power and speed. Yummers! Third thing, we know about Russell is there is no third thing. Anyway, what can we expect of Addison Russell for 2015 fantasy baseball?
Russell’s shown solid power in the minors (17 HRs in High-A in 2013 and 12 HRs in only 50 games in Double-A last year after the trade to the Cubs). His speed is a tad below that, which concerns me a bit because speed is the one thing we can always count on translating. He did steal 21 bags in High-A, but, well, that’s High-A. They call it that because everyone’s stoned. Last year in Double-A, he only had five steals all year, and two after the trade. It’s not great, and I think we’re seeing closer to his actual speed level in Double-A. Maybe he’ll reach 15-20 steals at some point, but he’s never going to be a 40-steal guy. He did hit .294 at Double-A after the trade, and I don’t see him hitting much below .280 without some bad luck. Unlike Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara, the Latin Kings of the Strikeout, Russell can wait for his pitch. His 2015 value really comes down to Castro and where the hell is he going to play. I’d say there’s about a 30% chance Castro is traded at the Winter Meetings and about an 80% chance he’s traded by July 31st. With Maddon coming in with his “I’m a hip grandfather” look, there’s a chance I’m underestimating the likelihood of Castro moving. Sometimes a new manager wants to put his stamp on the team immediately and the best way to do that is to get rid of Castro. Plus, Castro comes off as lazy as his eyelid, and Maddon won’t stand for that. He likes hustle and helping old ladies across the street! Maybe there’s some percentage of a chance Russell is traded to a team where he’ll play. Either way, there’s only a 30% chance he’s playing from the jump in April, and could be relegated to a midseason call-up. That reduces him to a pick-up off waivers in most mixed leagues and a flyer in NL-Only leagues, unless something changes at the Winter Meetings in December. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 44/8/39/.282/4 in 250 ABs, then I’d nearly double it if he’s on the Opening Day roster. Hey, science!