Addison Russell somehow made a grand slam look mundane this past week. Two days before his bases-clearing blast on Aug. 13, Russell legged out an inside-the-park home run. It was just another example of the incredible speed and power he's displayed this entire season, his first full one in professional baseball.
The A's selected Russell with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft, and he immediately performed during his limited time in Rookie, Short-Season, and Low Class A ball.
This year, Russell has played 91 games for High Class A Stockton and has hit .275 with 14 HRs, a .363 OBP, and 14 stolen bases on 17 attempts. And yet, the 19-year-old doesn't seem all that impressed with his performance thus far.
"It's definitely fun to let people see my ability, I'm having fun this last half and there's not a lot of time left, so you try to make a last-minute statement," Russell told MiLB.com. "Really for me, it's not where I wanted to be [overall] but I'm working hard to strive for my goals and obtain there. So far, it's just all right for me."
Russell's "last-minute statement" has certainly been a loud one. MLB.com's 20th overall prospect has posted a combined slash-line around .300/.400/.600 (batting average/OBP/slugging) the past three months after struggling in April in May. Russell said the slow start is partially why he's been disappointed with his season, overall.
"Early on, I was just so anxious to get a hit, so anxious to get on base," he said.
Russell went on to say that the way he's played the past few months is how he should've performed when the season began, but he knows it's a long year. He also acknowledged that this is his first full year of pro ball and that he's still learning.
"The good thing is that I think I struggled in the beginning and I learned how to come back from it, stay positive," he said. "Instead of trying to force it more when it was going bad, sit back, relax and let your ability and talent take over."