It’s barely a week into the minor league season, but so far Blake Rutherford has been a consistent force at the plate. After Monday’s 3-4 day he brought his average up to .375 (but he followed it up yesterday with an 0-4 day, setting him back to .300). The big concern for Rutherford is whether or not he will be able to tap into his power. Being just 20 years old, he has more than enough time to get stronger, grow into his frame, and learn which pitches he can drive. He doesn’t look very physically imposing, but at 6’3, 195 lbs, he is actually pretty cut. Scouts said that he has the potential to hit 20 home runs per year when he was drafted. This season will be a great measuring stick to see if that remains possible.
When Rutherford came over from the New York Yankees in the Todd Frazier deal last summer, he was having a pretty productive season. In fact, he batted .281 and had a wRC+ of 113 (100 being league average). But after the trade to the White Sox, Rutherford slumped hard, batting just .213 with a 63 wRC+. Not good. But being traded to a new team as a nineteen year old kid can definitely cause some mental side-effects. After becoming especially close with Jake Burger and Gavin Sheets, Rutherford looks as comfortable as he has ever been not just in the White Sox organization, but in his entire pro ball career.
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) April 6, 2018
Blake seems like he is often the forgotten man in a loaded farm system. His average to above average tools across the board once made him the 40th overall prospect in baseball. However, Rutherford’s poor second half from last year sees him sitting at no. 99 overall to start 2018. But if he continues to show confidence and a good approach at the plate like he has so far, he is surely to climb the ranks once again.
Right now, no one knows what the White Sox outfield is going to look like when they are ready to compete. Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert figure to be future locks. That leaves Micker Adolfo, Avisail Garcia, and Blake Rutherford all fighting for the last spot. If you can do simple math, that means that two of those three will most likely not be in the White Sox future plans. But if Rutherford keeps up his hot start and controls the things only he can, he has great odds to be a future starting outfielder for the Chicago White Sox.