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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Addison Russell, Dan Straily, Billy McKinney traded to Cubs – stats and profiles

The Chicago Cubs decided to deal some of their most valuable trade chips in an effort to stockpile for the future, and they got back a pretty good haul on Friday.

The Cubbies traded pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland A’s and got back Addison Russell, Dan Straily and Billy McKinney. Some reports say a player to be named later is also in the deal. Russell and McKinney are both recent first-round picks and very young prospects. Straily is 25 and has made 41 career starts.

Let’s take a closer look at each player.

Addison RussellAddison Russell is the centerpiece for the Cubs in this deal. Russell turned 20 in January and has already been progressing nicely through Oakland’s system as a shortstop. Drafted No. 11 overall in 2012 out of Pace High School in Florida, Russell signed quickly and played 55 games in pro ball. He ascended from rookie ball to low-A to A-ball. He crushed it in the minors that year, batting .369 with a 1.027 OPS.

Russell spent most of last season with high-A Stockton, posting a .275 average with an impressive .508 slugging percentage. For a 19-year-old in high-A, those were extremely impressive numbers. He clubbed 29 doubles, 10 triples and 17 home runs. He also stole 21 bases. So far in 2014, he’s batted .297 with an .822 OPS. He has committed 25 errors in 155 career games, and looks like the chance to be an above-average hitting shortstop in the majors.

Russell entered the 2014 season as the No. 14 prospect by Baseball America, the No. 12 prospect by MLB.com, and the No. 7 prospect by Baseball Prospectus.

(View Russell’s profile at Baseball Cube, Baseball Reference)

Dan Straily is a 25-year-old pitcher and the only player coming to the Cubs who has Major League experience. Straily went to high school in Oregon and started off his college ball at Western Oregon before transferring to Marshall. The A’s drafted him in the 24th round in 2009, and he started off in low-A ball and progressed to Triple-A in three years.

Straily actually improved at each level of the minors before getting a shot in the bigs making 7 starts for the A’s as a 23-year-old in 2012. He started off last season with the A’s, then was shuttled down to Triple-A Sacramento where he dominated before being recalled. He went 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA last season for the A’s, striking out 124 batters in 152.1 innings. He even made a start in the playoffs against the Tigers.

Straily was only 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA this season before being sent down to the minors, where he has also struggled. He has gone 4-3 with a 4.71 ERA in Triple-A and seems to be having an off year all the way around. It looks like the Cubs are going to send him to Triple-A Iowa, which indicates they have some reservations about his ability right now.

Billy McKinney is a 19-year-old center fielder drafted 24th overall last year by the A’s out of Plano West High School in Texas. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, McKinney is working things out at high-A Stockton this season. He has batted .241 in 75 games, showing some power with 12 doubles and 10 home runs. Despite being a center fielder, he isn’t a big base-stealing threat, as he’s only attempted 8 stolen bases all season. In 139 career minor league games, he’s batted .282/.359/.425, showcasing a good ability to draw a walk the way the A’s like.

Though McKinney’s average has been low this season, the fact that he’s been able to drive the ball as a 19-year-old in high-A ball is a good sign for the future. The hope is that he can continue to develop and be on schedule to reach the majors in 3-4 seasons.

(View McKinney’s Baseball Cube stats, Baseball-Reference stats)

Overall, this looks like it has the chance to be a pretty good haul for the Cubs, but it has to make you wonder about the future of their middle infield.

The strength of their minor league system already came from their infielders — specifically their middle infield.

Not only do they already have shortstop Starlin Castro at the big league level, but arguably their top prospect, Javier Baez, is a shortstop. One of their other top prospects, Arismendy Alcantara, is also a middle infielder. And now they’re getting Russell. Maybe they figure this will be a good problem to have and they’ll be able to deal with it in a few years if everyone develops the way they hope.


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