with only one thing holding him back, but that anchor is so very heavy he has little margin for error if he expects to extract a major league career with such a weight dragging him down. We all know that anchor is his K rate which has been a problem no matter what level of baseball he is playing.
For years Dodger fans have complained about the Dodgers not drafting for power. Kyle Russell was the answer to their complaints, now they just have to hope he can make contact just enough to have an impact. I'm big on using historical comps for players, but for Russell to succeed he is going to have be unique. No one with his K rates in the minors at his age has had a career of note. So normally I'd pass on Kyle. But at this point we are talking upside, and when you get to the 13th prospect vote, you might as well gamble on the one player in the system who might break the bank.
Player System Age PA K's K% OPS Ryan Howard AA 24 433 129 29.792% 1.033 Ryan Howard AAA 24 127 37 29.134% 0.966 Kyle Russell A 24 239 64 26.778% 1.141 Kyle Russell AA 24 308 113 36.688% 0.781 Kyle Russell 2nd Half 24 197 69 35.025% 0.917 Kyle Russell Aug AA 24 118 39 33.051% 1.018
Kyle Russell is not Ryan Howard, but Kyle Russell did adapt to the tough AA offensive environment and was the best hitter in the league for the month of August. I'll always take what a prospect is doing at the end of the season over what he started doing. Coming into 2010 we knew Kyle had to perform and he did what he could. He destroyed the California League and was promoted to AA where he certainly struggled in his first 100 at bats. With each game he got better and better which is what I call progress.
Kyle can play a solid right field, is one of the best baserunners in the system, has a good arm, has plate discipline. The odds are high against Russell having a major league career but I think his upside is enough that he is not someone we should be discounting out of hand. He did what we asked him to do. He adjusted, he slammed AA pitching in August, he had a plus .900 OPS for almost 200 plate appearances.
You can vote for the guy who quit on his team, you can vote for the guy who throws 95 gas but can't strike out anyone, you can vote for some men beating up on rookie league pitchers, you can vote for a guy on the Loons who might have been the best pitcher on the team but the scouts don't think he can succeed beyond that, you can vote for a plethora of relief pitchers who upside are setup men, or you can vote for the dream of watching your own Mark Reynolds playing RF.