It's not often that a first round pick receives an invitation to Spring Training a year after being drafted without it being stipulated in their contract. Yet that is exactly what happened to Addison Russell, per ace Athletics report Susan Slusser tweeted:
#Athletics convinced Addison Russell mature enough for big-league camp. It wasn't in his contract, it's indication how much he wowed A's.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 27, 2013
Russell has been the apple of prospect followers eye after mashing his way through three different stops, compiling at .369/.432/.594 (combined) slash line and 16 stolen bases along the way. Our own Jason Hunt took Russell at 14th overall in a minor league mock draft that will be discussed on FakeTeams soon after it's completion.
All this is to say what exactly? Just that the Addison Russell hype train isn't slowing down. It's one thing for people to drool over rookie ball and Lo-A stat lines. It's another for Billy Beane to give a player a non-stipulated invitation to Spring Training because of his performance and maturity. Acquisition costs are going to be at a premium in the next few months. I've been a Russell-pusher for a while now, but if you're going to trade for him you might want wait until he struggles at some point, because the costs right now probably don't justify the risks.
I'll be attending an Oakland A's Spring Training game near the tail end of March (the 24th I believe) and would love to see Russell in action. Of course he'll have probably moved on to minor league camp by then. C'est la vie.
Video of Russell courtesy of MLB.com:
MLB Advanced Media