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What has Elevated Addison Russell?

Chicago Cubs: What has Elevated Addison Russell?
by Erik Mauro

What has elevated the Chicago Cubs’ Addison Russell to the clutch hitter he’s become in 2016?

Earlier this season, we here at Cubbies Crib published a piece on what has elevated Kris Bryant to the next level in 2016. Bryant has taken the step towards MVP level, and it looks like he’s got the award all but wrapped up right now. But Addison Russell has taken a step forward as well, and we look at what’s behind that.

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Numbers tell story of patience paying off for hitters

Numbers tell story of patience paying off for Cubs hitters – Chicago Tribune

Mark Gonzales Chicago Tribune

The truest test of that development will be on display Friday night when Cubs hitters attempt to sustain their blend of patience and production in Game 1 of the NL Division Series.

 In the time since President Theo Epstein cited the need for fewer strikeouts and a high on-base percentage nearly a year ago, the Cubs have addressed their vulnerabilities of last October when the Mets’ pitching staff exposed their weaknesses.

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Maddon praises ‘consummate pro’ Zobrist

By Carrie Muskat / | @CarrieMuskat | May 28th, 2016

CHICAGO — Ben Zobrist has been on a roll, and it doesn’t surprise Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

“He just takes care of himself so well and he knows himself so well,” Maddon said of Zobrist, whom he knows well from their days together with the Rays.

Zobrist doubled in a run in the first inning in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Phillies and now has reached safely in his past 33 starts. He is the first Cubs player to do so since Starlin Castro ended the 2011 season having reached in his final 40 starts. Zobrist also now has a 14-game hitting streak, and leads all National League second basemen in RBIs. He began the day leading the NL in on-base percentage.

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His level best: Slugger flattens swing to become a better hitter

Kris Bryant digs his right foot into the dirt followed by his left. The Cubs slugger taps the plate once with his bat and then cocks it behind his head, ready to unleash one of baseball’s most majestic swings.

The mantra going through his head at the time is simple.

“See the ball, hit the ball,’ ” Bryant said. “Pitchers are too good, so you can’t go out there thinking about your swing.”

The time for thinking about his swing is during the offseason, spring training and these days while in the batting cage. At 24, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year continues to look for ways to improve.

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