We are writing prospect reports on players the White Sox might select in the June draft. This article is the seventh and final installment in our series. You can see the other reports we've already posted, here:
School: Oregon State
Height/Weight 6’2” 216lbs
Previously Drafted: 40th Round by the Seattle Mariners
Adley Rutschman is from Sherwood, Oregon, and attended Sherwood High School. Rutschman was a two-year varsity player at Sherwood, hitting .383 his sophomore year and .444 his junior year. Rutschman lettered for three years in high school on the baseball team and was a 4-time letter winner for the football team. Earning all-league honors at kicker and second-team All-State as a kicker. Rutschman was highly touted out of high school, seeing himself ranked as the second-high school player in the state of Oregon by Baseball Northwest. His impressive Junior campaign earned him First-Team All-State honors and saw him drafted in the 40th round by the Seattle Mariners, but he did not sign. Opting instead to go to Oregon State where on top of baseball he also kicked on the football team for his freshman year.
The hype surrounding Adley Rutschman as he prepares to exit college is huge. He has been compared to Joe Mauer and Buster Posey by multiple publications and was even ranked as the 7th best draft prospect of all time by MLB.com’s Jim Callis. On top of being a switch-hitting power threat from behind the plate, Rutschman shows an ability to hit for average from both sides of the plate and is a strong defensive catcher as well. One scout also noted that Rutschman exudes “off the charts leadership”. Baseball America published an article May 23rd calling Rutschman the best MLB Draft Prospect since Bryce Harper.
Rutschman saw major action behind the plate for OSU his freshman year, albeit slashing a pedestrian .234/.306/.322. Despite what most would consider to be a rather pedestrian stat line, Rutschman still managed to earn All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. This would not be the profile that Rutschman became known for the following seasons.
2018 was the year that Rutschman put himself on the map. The backstop burst onto the scene slashing .408/.628/.505 to go along with 9 home runs, 22 doubles and 53 walks. Rutschman would prove to be the most valuable member of OSU’s College World Series winning team, taking home 2018 College World Series MVP. That honor went along with numerous regular season honors for Rutschman, including All-Pac-12 First Team, Pac-12 All-Defensive Team, D1Baseeball.com First-Team All-America, and ABCA First Team All-America. Despite playing on a hyper talented OSU team that won it all and included White Sox 2018 third-overall pick Nick Madrigal, Rutschman still managed to set himself apart as the team’s most exciting Major League Prospect.
The 2019 season has been just as successful for Rutschman as he prepares to be a top 3 pick in the draft. He is slashing .411/.751/.575 while maintaining his elite defensive profile. Rutschman is the most well-known player in college baseball this season, and for good reasons. Teams are salivating at the potential to get their hands on what they believe is a future superstar behind the plate.
Note: These grades are via mlbpipeline.com
All 17 of Adley's hits from the 2018 CWS
2019 College Films
PAC-12 Network Video Footage
Prospect Overview and Future Outlook:
Adley Rutschman is leaving college with a huge amount of hype, and that is for good reason. He has everything a front office would want in a catcher. He is big, able to block balls, has a strong and accurate arm, and can hit for power and average. Rutschman will likely stick at catcher for the foreseeable future, making him an even more valuable commodity. As hitting catchers that are also gifted defensively such as Rutschman are exceedingly rare, and the last two to be able to do so, Joe Mauer and Buster Posey, have earned MVP Awards. Even if down the line Rutschman is not able to stick at catcher, or for whatever reason his organization decides to move him, he has the frame and profile of a successful first baseman. He has even drawn comparisons to Mark Texeria in that role.
Rutschman has been talked about as being the potential first overall selection in the 2019 Draft since his Sophomore campaign. For months he appeared to be a lock for the selection, but various reports over the past few weeks have actually managed to cast a reasonable doubt over the Orioles' intentions at that slot. Should Rutschman slip out of the top spot, perhaps because Baltimore is attempting to shop for a deal, there is a realistic chance the White Sox are able to nab him at the third spot. This would be reason to celebrate, but obviously not a devastating setback if they cannot land him. Regardless, Rutschman should find himself selected easily within the top three, even if he is not selected first.
Rutschman's combination of bat and defensive ability behind the plate makes him a rare commodity in baseball. Mixed with his pro-ready frame he is sure to be a top three pick in the Draft. He will likely be selected with the first-overall pick, but should he fall to the White Sox at three fans and and front office executives alike would have reason to celebrate. Rutschman will likely rise through the minor leagues quickly at catcher, and prove to be a valuable middle of the order bat for years to come. He is one of the most highly touted prospects ever, and now is the time to see him live up to that hype.
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