Sunday, March 27, 2016


Bleeding Yankee Blue is pleased to announce a brand new series entitled KEEPING AN EYE ON THE FUTURE.

This series focuses on college baseball players who, based on their performance and excitement, we need to keep close tabs on as they fight their way up through the Major League Baseball trajectory.  Each piece will spotlight players who are doing something unique for their team and are fast tracking themselves to college to the minor leagues and up to the Show.

This week we zoom in on the annual Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason All-American and All-Region Teams, which recognizes the top senior high school baseball athletes in the U.S. This is an opportunity to highlight next-level players nationwide. The organization honors the top 150 players from the All-Region pool, where each player named is on one of three, 50-man roster national teams. We also highlight a catcher from New Jersey who played in the New Jersey Top Prospect Tournament last summer and rising senior, who is already committed to a Division I university in Florida.

This week we showcase: Outfielder Blake Rutherford, Catcher Kyle Ebert and First Baseman Alejandro Toral.  According to a press release on PerfectGame (PG) “To receive the Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason All-American or All-Region Award is a tremendous achievement for these high school student-athletes,” said Jerry Ford, president of Cedar Rapids, IA-based Perfect Game. “We are proud to recognize their talent as they prepare for their careers playing collegiate or professional baseball.

UCLA-bound Blake Rutherford is a 6'2" 190 pound high school senior from Simi Valley, CA who has committed to UCLA this fall. According to scouts reviewing his performance at last year's Perfect Game All American tournament, Rutherford "showed crazy power at PG AA. Runs very well. Superstar potential." According to his high school coach, Frank Mutz, Rutherford is a very disciplined, and mature player for his age. "His baseball IQ is very high, and he understand the game. He’s a team player. It’s not about him, it’s not about his stats. It’s about what’s he going to do this at-bat to help the ballclub win."

Rutherford has a long clean stroke, which can be further developed by the coaching staff at UCLA. After playing 64-games including one game this spring and previously three full seasons of varsity baseball Rutherford is batting .374 with an OBP .486 and 65 hit and 26 RBIs. Rutherford plays for Chaminade College Preparatory High School and summer travel team EvoShield Canes. He is ranked 2nd in 2016 high school prospects highlighted by Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason All-Americans.  According to Baseball America, although Rutherford has football in his bloodlines, as his father, Roy, played football at Eastern Michigan, baseball was always his first love.  “I grew up around baseball a lot and I just took a real loving to it, and it’s something I get really passionate about,” Rutherford said, “where football was more of a thing that I just liked to play for fun, and I was told I was somewhat good at it, but baseball is just something I love to do and love to work at, and ultimately what I want to be is a baseball player.” 

Catcher Kyle Ebert is a senior ball player from Hewitt, New Jersey.  He attends Don Bosco Preparatory School in Ramsey, NJ, which ranks fifth of New Jersey's Fab Five baseball teams. He is a 5'9" 185 pound senior who has committed to Franklin and Marshall in Pennsylvania.  He played in the New Jersey Top Prospect Tournament last July.  According to Prep Baseball Report, which covers high school baseball prospects, Ebert is "one of the state's powerhouses."

"Athletically I am different from other recruits in the sense that I am willing to use my free time to work that extra hour to better myself and the program to work harder than my competition," states Ebert on his NSCA recruiting page

First Baseman Alejandro Toral is a 6'2" 220 pound infielder from Davie, FL, who is already committed to the University of Miami despite his anticipated high school graduation in 2017.  According to Perfect Game, scouts describe Toral as a, "big power bat. He can hit the ball a long ways. Always hits." Nice stats already for a high school junior who technically has two-years of high school baseball at Archbishop Edward Mccarthy in Florida.  He tops the Prep Baseball Report top 20 rankings list for class of 2017 headliners.  

Stay tuned for more spotlighted players as we roll out this series throughout the 2016-2017 season.

As we posted earlier this week, YOU JUST DON'T EVER GIVE UP.  These guys are surely a testament to that mantra.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff WriterBYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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