Russell was a highly regarded prospect when he was brought over to the Cubs in a trade that saw Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel get shipped off to the Athletics. Since making it to the majors, he has yet to produce what many thought he would do offensively. Last season there were some off the field issues he was involved with. These off the field incidents may have had something to do with his struggles on the field. As many can tell you baseball can be a very mental game, so players can sometimes struggle when things are going on off the field. Now all these distractions should be cleared up come 2018, so I will be keeping a close eye on the Cubs’ young star.
At the age of 24, Russell is still young enough to keep developing and getting better. We saw some things change for the better in 2017 like his swinging strike rate dropping and his hard contact rate nearly rising 3%, but we also some negatives last season. He was swinging at more pitches outside the zone and swinging at less pitches inside of it, and as I stated above this could have something to do with what was going on off the field. With a ton of potential, I will be curious to watch him mature and grow throughout 2018.