When I think of Dodger Prospect Kyle Russell, two names come to mind – Adam Dunn and Rob Deer. Both have (had) prodigious power and both strike (“struck” in Deer’s situation) out way too much, but Dunn actually has a good OB%, albeit a low BA. Both can hit monster HR’s. Both made the majors, but only one (Dunn) was a success. Will Kyle Russell be like either player? Only time will tell, but Russell who was the third Dodgers pick of 2008, has always exhibited tremendous raw power. The Houston, Texas native is a left-handed power hitter who stands 6’5″ and weighs 200 lbs., at age 21. There have been a lot of players over the years who have played for the University of Texas, but Kyle Russell is the All-Time Home Run King and holds the Texas HR record.
He is currently playing for the Great Lakes Loons (Low Class A) and is hitting .281 (.369 OB%) and OPS’ing .938. He has 25 doubles, 19 HR and 59 RBI in 81 games. He has also swiped 6 out of 7 bases and has 40 BB to go with (GULP!) 105 Strike-Outs. That’s right, in 299 AB’s he has struck out 105 times! Before you pass judgement, you need to realize that 40 BB for a young slugger is a step in the right direction, but the fact that he is on track for 200 strike outs gives one pause. He does possess excellent hand speed and obviously his pitch recognition needs some improvement, but you don’t teach “raw power.” He has played some CF, but is most suited for RF. He has slightly above average speed and possess an excellent arm.
At the plate, he does a great job of keeping his hands back and driving the ball to all fields. He seems to have a good understanding of hitting and frequently takes the ball to the opposite field, because he has the power to hit home runs anywhere in the ballpark. He can kill any fastball, but like many youngsters who are power hitters he struggles with the breaking and off-speed stuff. This is something that can be learned, however.
I think he will see a promotion to Inland Empire before the end of the season and could easily be in AA by the end of next season. His projected arrival to the big show is probably sometime in 2011. It all depends upon whether he can continue to adapt.
- Kevin Baxter of the LA Times on Mannys’ Roots
Clayton Kershaw vs. Mike Pelfrey tonight.