Blake Rutherford
22-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Chicago White Sox AA
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Rutherford, the 18th overall pick in 2016, had a resurgent year in his first full season in the White Sox's system. After totaling all of two home runs and 10 stolen bases in 101 games at the Low-A level in 2017, Rutherford chipped in seven homers and 15 steals in 115 games with High-A Winston-Salem. Rutherford uses the whole field well and his contact skills are advanced for a player his age (18.5 K% last season). His patience waned a bit last season (7.0 BB%), but he was still 20% better than the average Carolina League hitter. His power numbers will remain capped by a groundball rate north of 50%, and that's bad news for a player who seems destined to be a corner outfielder (just 13 starts in center field last season). Perhaps he will hit for a high enough average to make up for the middling power, but that should not be considered the likely outcome. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a contract with the Yankees in June of 2016 that includes a $3.28 million signing bonus. Traded to the White Sox in July of 2017.
Invited to spring training
OFChicago White Sox  AA
January 23, 2019
Rutherford was invited to big-league spring training, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Rutherford spent the entirety of the 2018 season at High-A Winston-Salem and led the Carolina League with 78 RBI and 131 hits. Most evaluators would like to see him hit more for power -- he went from two home runs to seven from 2017 to 2018 -- but the White Sox remain patient with Rutherford. The 21-year-old is expected to start the year at Double-A Birmingham, where we'll be watching to see if the corner outfielder can find his power zone.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Blake Rutherford
Farm Futures: Outfield Tiers
83 days ago
James Anderson checks out the top fantasy prospects in the outfield, including Nationals' speedster Victor Robles.
Farm Futures: AL Central: 117 Prospects You Need To Know
110 days ago
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Minor League Barometer: Down on the Farm
318 days ago
Jesse Siegel checks things out on the farm again this week, kicking off his recommendations with Astros outfield prospect Kyle Tucker.
Minor League Barometer: That's a Wrap
September 5, 2017
Jesse Siegel takes us through his Minor League Barometer for the final time this season, highlighting some of the year's biggest risers and fallers.
Minor League Barometer: Taking the Majors by Storm
August 30, 2017
Jesse Siegel looks over the minor-league landscape with an eye toward who might make an impact during the September call-up period.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
The Yankees did well to unload Rutherford in a mid-July trade with the White Sox while he still had trade value. He would look like a borderline non-prospect if we didn't know about his exploits as a high-school hitter. As one of the oldest prep hitters in the 2016 draft class, there were reasons to be cautious about assuming his success as an amateur would translate. That's why he fell to the Yankees with the 18th overall pick. He turns 21 in May and has five home runs in 134 pro games. That wouldn't be a huge deal if he were a plus runner who projected to stick in center field, but speed may no longer be a part of his game when he reaches the majors, and his glove fits best in left field, so he needs to do damage at the plate. He could always turn things around, but at this point there are dozens of outfield prospects in the lower levels who have similar upside/downside and are unowned in most dynasty leagues.
The No. 18 overall selection in the 2016 draft, Rutherford did not disappoint in 33 games in rookie ball. The 19-year-old slashed .351/.415/.570 with three home runs and 12 RBI. Rutherford's left-handed stroke should be perfect for the short porch in Yankee Stadium, though he is at least three years away from making an impact in the big leagues. As with most hitters coming straight from high school, Rutherford will need to adjust to the strike zone in the minors. He fanned 30 times in those 33 contests, though he walked 13 times as well, and was praised for his eye at the dish when he was drafted. The sweet-swinging lefty has superb bat speed along with the ability to spray the ball to all fields. Rutherford will likely start the 2017 season at Low-A Charleston and remains a high-upside outfield prospect in a Yankees system suddenly flush with talent. After Mickey Moniak, Rutherford is the No. 2 prep hitting prospect from last year's draft, and is a top-50 overall prospect for dynasty leagues because of his five-category potential.
More Fantasy News
Has hit streak snapped
OFChicago White Sox  AA
July 30, 2018
Rutherford went 0-for-3 on Sunday for High-A Winston-Salem, snapping a 12-game hitting streak. The 21-year-old was banged up earlier this month, but has shown no signs of wear.
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Deemed day-to-day after early exit
OFChicago White Sox  AA
July 5, 2018
The White Sox are labeling Rutherford as day-to-day after the outfielder was banged up while attempting to make a catch at the wall in a game for High-A Winston-Salem on Wednesday, Rob Terranova of reports.
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Knocks in four Thursday
OFChicago White Sox  AA
April 20, 2018
Rutherford went 4-for-5 with four RBI for High-A Winston-Salem on Thursday.
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Low power output not a worry
OFChicago White Sox  AA
January 30, 2018
Rutherford has five home runs and slugged .398 over 134 career minor-league games, but the White Sox remain confident in his ability, Scott Merkin of reports. "Over time he's going to figure out, 'OK, what pitches can I drive here?' Maybe figure out pitches he can drive to the pull side. Things like that. He's showing signs of it and we are getting a little bit closer, but Blake has been, I couldn't be more excited to have him in our system," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz.
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Will report to Low-A club
OFChicago White Sox  AA
July 19, 2017
Rutherford, who was acquired in a trade Tuesday, was assigned to Low-A Kannapolis on Wednesday, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports.
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