By: Mario Phillips
Blake Rutherford – OF – Chaminade Prep School (CA). 6’2″ 190. Bats: Left. Throws: Right. DOB: 5.2.1997. College Commitment: UCLA
Scouted: 2015 Area Code Games (Blair Field, CA) August 4 and 5, 2015; March 29, 2016, at 2016 Boras Classic (Junipero Serra Catholic HS, CA).
The top prep outfielder from California and according to MLB.com, and the seventh best 2016 draft prospect, Rutherford’s name will be called amongst the top 5 picks in the first round of this year’s draft. Rutherford has excelled on the national stage, and shined playing for the 18U USA National Team. He is a polished ballplayer who will be thrilling MLB fans in a few years with his bat and athleticism.
2015 Stats: .435 BA, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 9 SB
HITTING – Rutherford flat out rakes. His level swing is smooth, compact, and explosive. His quick hands enable him to drive the ball to all fields. Rutherford’s advanced approach at the dish and exceptional hitting mechanics give him great plate coverage. His ability to read pitches well, repeatable hitting mechanics, and quick wrists will allow Rutherford to hit .300 in MLB.
POWER – Rutherford generates strength and leverage for future plus power. He has a very projectable body that will add more strength in the near future. Strength in hands and wrists gives him easy power to all fields. His quick compact swing is capable of bashing the ball to all fields. Once physically developed, Rutherford’s bat will find a home in the middle of an MLB lineup.
SPEED – Rutherford is an above average runner, registering a 6.7 60-yard dash. Rutherford’s speed and instincts will allow him to be an agile and alert baserunner, capable of stealing 25 bags a year and a guy that can take the extra base when necessary.
ARM – Rutherford’s arm will be playable anywhere in the outfield. His arm is loose and easy with sound throwing mechanics. Rutherford’s throws with good accuracy and possesses a Major League average arm.
DEFENSE – Rutherford is a tick above average in the OF, but has the potential to be a solid Major League defender once he fully matures. Rutherford displays smooth, athletic defensive actions in the outfield and can handle centerfield. Word is some talent evaluators see Rutherford as more of a corner outfielder. Rutherford is cognizant of this and determined to prove he can stick in center for the long haul. Rutherford has a slightly above average arm, but his speed and overall baseball instincts will allow him to provide solid defense in the outfield.
FUTURE – Though he’s one of the older high school players in this draft, Blake Rutherford is a tremendous athlete with a projectable body, who displays plus instincts on the diamond. Rutherford exudes confidence and is an extremely polished player—intangibles are off the chart! Rutherford is a middle of the order power threat trending towards stardom. Rutherford is a a hitterish ballplayer with the skills to become a premium offensive threat, featuring above average defensive skills and speed that will play at the MLB level. Rutherford’s athleticism, baseball instincts, and advanced abilities will enable him to become a star outfielder and serve as middle of the order offensive threat. Josh Reddick is a good comp to Rutherford, although Rutherford has a higher upside. Rutherford is currently committed to UCLA, as is his So Cal rival Mickey Moniak. As with Moniak, I expect Rutherford to forego college and begin his professional career. Expect Rutherford to come off the board within the first five picks of the 2016 MLB Draft.