Derrick Goold had this posted at his blog for a few days now, but I found it encouraging for a good reason:
The Cardinals have kept close tabs on the lefthanded-hitting outfielder throughout this summer as he’s played for the Santa Barbara team in the California Collegiate League. As many as five different Cardinals scouts have seen him play this summer. A couple officials attended the opening games of the National Baseball Congress World Series — where Russell’s Santa Barbara team is the defending champion — earlier this week. In addition to watching him play, the two Cardinals instructors took video of Russell’s batting practice. It’s a practice the Cardinals have employed with other draft picks (like first-round pick Peter Kozma), and it allows them to zip what they saw to the laptops of the execs who will write the formal offer.
Why does that excite me so much? Because Russell is really raking in the tournament right now. Blurbs from the last three games found at the Foresters website-
Aug 6…”Kyle Russell broke out for three hits..”
Aug. 7… “Kyle Rusell put the Foresters in front with a two run double in the Foresters four-run fourth and added a triple in the seventh to pace the offense.”
Aug 8…”Kyle Russell hit Santa Barbara’s first grand slam of the year to cap the outburst while the ten hitters before his slam reached base safely.”
Sounds like he’s putting on a show, and in front of some higher ups too. Next Wednesday is the deadline, and I’m feeling pretty positive.
Russell’s team is playing again tonight.
Azru here. I stumbled accross Gordo’s column on the intraweb this morning. Please ignore the part of this article about Reyes because it’s horrible garbage. (Case in point – “Reyes, like Wells, struggles to command that stuff” – except Reyes was always noted for his exceptional command. I detest the title too – “Reyes’ recent improvement revives hope for ’08” as I was arguing for weeks that his peripheral stats just don’t support the fact of how bad he’s been. But I digress) Here’s his note on Russell:
University of Texas slugger Kyle Russell, arguably the most exciting prospect drafted by the Cards this summer, appears likely to leave school to sign with the club. Last season he had 26 homers and an .877 slugging percentage.
He fell to 142nd overall in the draft due to his financial demands, but the Cards apparently are bucking up to get a deal done. Given the poor offensive start by top overall pick Pete Kozma, Russell’s signing would make this draft look a whole lot better.
Emphasis above is mine. 6 days until the deadline.