While the A's didn't rack up many points for quantity in MLB.com's preseason Top 100 Prospect rankings, Addison Russell made sure that quality counted, as Oakland's prize young shortstop jumped to 12th overall in the preseason ratings.
Russell, who turned 20 on Thursday, was Oakland's lone representative in the Top 100 released on his birthday, but his leap toward the top of the chart corresponds with the glowing reports regarding the future of the 2012 first-round Draft pick.
Russell moved up from 48th in his initial MLB.com prospect rating a year ago after performing very well for both Stockton in the Class A Advanced California League and then against many of baseball's top youngsters in the Arizona Fall League.
Many of the premier prospects in baseball are at shortstop, and Russell was fifth among that group, behind Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox (No. 2 overall), Javier Baez of the Cubs (No. 7), Carlos Correa of the Astros (No. 8) and Francisco Lindor of the Indians (10th).
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was the No. 1 overall prospect.
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2014.
In his second season of pro ball, Russell hit .275 with 29 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs, 21 stolen bases and 60 RBIs in 107 games for Stockton, posting an outstanding .885 OPS.
Russell, who is also a solid defender, continued his strong year by posting a .282/.361/.435 line in the AFL. He was the 11th overall pick in the 2012 Draft out of Pace High School in Pensacola, Fla.
Based on rankings awarding 100 points for the No. 1 overall prospect, 99 for No. 2 and so on down the line, the A's finished 22nd among the 30 MLB teams with their 89 "prospect points."
The Astros compiled the most prospect points with 439, three ahead of the Red Sox's 436. Boston had the most players in the Top 100 with nine, followed by the Astros and Cubs with seven each. The A's and Twins were the only teams with just one ranked player, while the Angels were the lone team without anyone selected in the Top 100.