Yankees select highly touted outfielder Blake Rutherford with first round pick

Ever since he was in the eighth grade, the New York Yankees have had their eyes on Blake Rutherford. The 6'2", 190-pound center fielder has continued his development, leading him to being ranked as the eighth ranked prospect in this year's draft according to MLB.com. Ecstatic that he had fallen to the 18th pick in the draft, the Yankees chose this high-ceiling prospect.
Photo via @Everything.Yanks27 on instagram
As a senior in high school, Chaminade College Prep team captain Blake Rutherford raked against opposing pitchers. Rutherford slashed .577/.676/.923, with an OPS of 1.599. He also hit 4 homers, 13 doubles and he also stole 17 bases. Expected to be an above average power guy in the big leagues, Rutherford has the potential to be a 20/20 type player.

Rutherford was signed to play college baseball at UCLA, but the Yankees are expected to sign him, as indicated by their decision to pick him with the 18th pick.

Still a consensus top 10 prospect in this year's draft pick, Rutherford was considered at one point to potentially be a top pick over Mickey Moniak, who went first overall to the Phillies. Inconsistent hitting early this spring caused his status as a top five pick to fall, but he has still drawn comparisons to Jim Edmonds, Alex Gordon and Grady Sizemore, although it is yet to be seen whether he sticks in center field or moves to a corner outfield position.

The Yankees were likely taken by surprise that Rutherford fell into their lap at pick 18 as Baseball America ranked him as the ninth best prospect, MLB.com ranked him eighth, and SB Nation had him at seven. Here's what Baseball America had to say about the young prospect: 
"Rutherford has size, strength, athleticism and power potential for scouts to dream on, and would likely be the consensus top prep bat in the class if he had a more consistent spring or if he were a year younger. ... Scouts have to project on Rutherford's home run power; he's produced this spring after being the biggest bat last summer for USA Baseball's 18U team. However, he hasn't taken the next step with his power, at times trying too hard to pull and yank balls for power. When he stays with his approach, he's as impressive as any prep hitter in the class, with power to all fields, a line-drive swing path that covers the plate and the athleticism for center field. Some scouts see him as a potential power-hitting center fielder in the Jim Edmonds mold."
Rutherford will join a long list of familiar left-handed hitting Yankee outfielders in the farm system including Jake Cave, Ben Gamel, Mason Williams, and Dustin Fowler. In addition to the Yankees scouting him since eighth grade, Rutherford already has a Yankee connection as he posted this tweet with Derek Jeter two years ago.
Article by: Chad Raines
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