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Fantasy Fix: Russell vs. Rodon

So you missed out on Kris Bryant. Two other players just were brought up from the minors by our Chicago teams, and both carry with them bright, if not Bryant-like, hype:

Addison Russell, SS, CUBS: His arrival from the farm in Iowa this week must have caught a lot of fantasy team owners by surprise because he is still available in more than 40% of Yahoo! leagues. He has middle of the road power, but could pile up hits and SBs once he gets acclimated. Some observers think he is a future 20/20 HR/SB guy, but I don't think we'll see that power for awhile. He also should gain 2B eligibility in the next week, and being a middle infielder should heighten his value.

Carlos Rodon, SP, WHITE SOX: Rodon could have easily made the big league club out of spring training, such is the status of the Sox starting rotation. He's currently working out of the bullpen, but it's probably only a matter of weeks before he takes Hector Noesi's spot in the rotation. Rodon didn't start well this week, giving up two earned runs and three walks in 2.1 IP, but he'll improve, and even if he doesn't improve much, the Sox likely will still hand him a starter job. That should give him the breathing room to do what he does best - strike guys out with a filthy slider. Rodon's available in 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

As for which one of these players holds more fantasy value, it of course depends on need. SS and 2B positions are so shallow that if Russell hits .280 with 10 HRs, 25 SBs the rest of the way, he could reach the top seven or eight in both positions. SPs, on the other hand, are plentiful, but if Rodon flashes 10-12 strikeouts per nine innings kind of stuff, he could very quickly become a fantasy must-have.

Right now, I like Rodon a little better, in part because I think overall he is further along in his development, getting drafted out of NC State last year and already 22 years old, while Russell is still just 21 years old. Also, it looks like Russell will hit at the bottom of the order for the time being, which should help his hitting get on track, bit won't let him score many runs, and he still may find himself occasionally competing for at-bats with the likes of Tommy LaStella and Jonathan Herrera.

Expert Wire
* FoxSports.com's Fantasy Baseball Buzz Blog lists Jon Lester as one of its Week 3 duds. Lester's slow start doesn't really surprise me. I think we're looking at another month of outings that will not exactly be sub-par, but not brilliant either. I don't think the world of Lester, but I do think that right now he's a buy-low candidate if anyone in your league is shopping him on the trading block.

* NumberFire has Rodon as one of its waiver wire picks this week, but also few other interesting names, one of them being Kevin Plawecki, C, NYM. Plawecki is another player just called up to fill in for the injured Travis d'Arnaud. Baically we're looking at a three- to six-week tryout for Plawecki. Even if he sticks in the majors, he would back-up d'Arnaud when he returns.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

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