Prospect # 22 - OF Kyle Russell

Texas outfielder Kyle Russell may have cost himself some money by not signing as a Draft-eligible sophomore in 2007 after setting a Longhorns record for home runs. His loss is certainly the Dodgers' gain as Russell hit .279 with 11 homers, 46 RBIs, a .534 slugging percentage and a .899 OPS for Ogden in his debut.

#22 OF Kyle Russell
6-5 190 BL TL
Born- Jun 7, 198
Obtained- Dodgers' selection #3 in 2009 draft

His rookie professional season earned him a spot on the Pioneer League postseason All-Star team and he is our prospect #22 and Baseball America's Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects list for his performance in 2008.

Outfielder Kyle Russell topped NCAA Division I with a Texas school-record 28 homers in 2007, despite struggling early in the season. He has power to all fields, though in his final year at Texas he was more pull-conscious. He's a good athlete with a right-field arm.

The power-hungry Dodgers jumped at the chance to take him with their third choice in the 2008 draft.

"Here's a guy that holds the Texas home run record. That's something when you think about all the home run hitters the program has had. He struggled early but finished strong," Logan White said.

"He's got quick hands, great power and, of course and the strikeouts to go with that. There are some things with his swing he is going to have to adjust but we have the people to help him with that.

"But he has that one tool -- power -- that is as good as anyone in the draft. You look for power hitters, power arms. You can't teach power, some have it and sometimes some develop it later. That was the knock on James Loney, not enough power but I've always said that when he is 26-27 he'll hit 30 home runs.

"Some just have God-given power and I think Russell is one of those" White concluded.

Russell, who was selected in the 2008 MLB Draft after his junior season, was also named UT's most valuable player. He earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2008, hitting .300 with 19 home runs and 56 RBI. He was also tabbed Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 NCAA Houston Regional when he put on a power show with four home runs in four games, including two in a victory over Sam Houston State. He ended the season as Texas' all-time home run leader with 57.

In 2007, as the Horns' starting right fielder, he earned first-team All-America honors from Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, the American Baseball Coaches Association and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association as well as being named the Big 12 Player of the Year. Russell led the nation with 28 home runs and ranked sixth with an .807 slugging percentage as a sophomore. He posted a .336 batting average with 68 runs, 71 RBI and 10 stolen bases for the campaign.

The Tomball, Texas, native played in 61 games for the Raptors, hitting .279 with 46 runs, 13 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs and 46 RBI and helped lead Ogden to the Pioneer League playoffs. His professional rookie season earned him Pioneer League Postseason All-Star Honors.

Russell arrived at Texas with loft in his swing and high expectations. As the senior captain, he helped Tomball High School to a No. 1 ranking in Texas.

His transition to college appeared seamless. In his second at-bat as a freshman he hit a two-out, two-run pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat No. 2 Rice, 5-4.

After hitting .375 through 25 games in 2006, Russell plunged to .198 for his last 29 games. Then came his 64-strikeout summer with the Cape Cod League's Cotuit Kettleers, for whom he hit .206.

"When Kyle made contact, the ball exploded off his bat," Kettleers head coach Mike Roberts said. "For a guy 6-5, he made some incredible plays in the outfield. He was very good defensively and on the basepaths. Offensively, it was a very difficult summer for him. Did Coach Roberts do a good job of getting him through that? No, I did not. I looked at that as I failed Kyle Russell."

"I was just so mentally broken up, saying, 'Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do with myself?' " Russell says. "… But when I came back to UT, everybody raised my confidence."

However his coaches and teammates restored his self-esteem, not to mention his swing, far more than extra drills could. Then the 6-5, 180-pounder belted 27 home runs in 56 games to lead NCAA Division I, demolish the school single-season record.

He followed that with an outstanding record his junior year, a new single-season Texas home run record, and positioned himself for national player of the year honors while raising his prospects in the major league amateur draft.

The outstanding prospect should move up the Dodgers system rapidly. He will begin the season at Inland Empire.

OF Kyle Russell

year	team     ave   obp   ops  gm   ab   r   h  2b 3b hr  bi  sb
2008	Ogden	.279  .365  .899  61  219  46  61  13  5 11  46   4

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