The Chicago Cubs will be without rookie shortstop Addison Russell in the upcoming NLCS against the winner of the Dodgers-Mets Division Series because of a moderate hamstring strain.
Russell suffered this injury in game three of the NLDS against the Cardinals while legging out a triple.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon ruled him out of the NLCS, but wouldn’t rule him out of the World Series should the Cubs advance past the NLCS.
Russell impressed in his first big league season since being acquired from the Oakland A’s last July while playing in 142 games in the 2015 regular season. He hit .242 with 17 home runs and 54 RBI while having a good glove in the field with a fielding percentage of 97.7%.
Thus far in the postseason, Russell is 3-for-12 with an RBI.
As for Russell’s replacement, Javier Baez will be that guy and he has already made an impact. In game four against St. Louis, Baez hit a clutch three-run home run that was a vital part of the Cubs advancing onto the NLCS.
Baez started the season in Triple-A Iowa and spent nearly the entire season there since being a part of September call-ups. In the month of September, Baez hit .289 with one home run and four RBI in 28 games played. So far in the postseason, he is 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.
The big concern with Baez is his strikeout percentage which was the reason he spent so much time in AAA to see if he could cut down on that. In addition, there is a drop off on defense at shortstop from Russell to Baez, but the Cubs will have to make do without him. The Cubs have no plans to move Starlin Castro back to the shortstop position after his move to second base where he has been playing for a while now.