Yankees First Rounder Blake Rutherford Out Indefinitely with Hamstring Injury

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Yankees 2016 first round pick Blake Rutherford will miss the remainder of the Pulaski Yankees season with a hamstring injury according to multiple reports.

A mini-controversy ensued among Yankees fans Sunday after the Pulaski Yankees official account tweeted and subsequently deleted the following ominous message late Saturday night:

19-year-old Pulaski outfielder Blake Rutherford, the 18th overall selection in the 2016 June amateur draft, has not played a game since August 24th. The mysterious tweet sparked speculation that the Yankees first rounder had gotten into some kind of trouble or received a suspension.

The explanation for the puzzling missive is apparently much less juicy than many anticipated. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com first reported that the cause of Rutherford’s absence was a minor hamstring injury.

New York Yankees beat reporter Bryan Hoch, also of MLB.com, confirmed Mayo’s story, and added that Rutherford would likely miss the remainder of the Appalachian League season. 

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The team has yet to make any official announcement regarding the injury, but both reporters speculate that Rutherford could play in the Fall Instructional League.

Ranked New York’s number six prospect by MLB Pipeline, Rutherford even cracked the midseason Top 100 list at number 56. He’s seen as a true five-tool guy with superstar potential.

Rutherford has torn up the Appy League since his promotion on July 15, hitting .382/.440/.618 (184 wRC+) in 100 plate appearances. He walked in 9% of his PAs and struck out in 24%. It’s hard to ask for more than that from a teenager in his first professional season.

Given that his success came against competition that was 1.5 years older than him on average, it’s safe to say that Blake could be a very quick mover.

The injury seems to be minor and should have very little impact on his schedule going forward. An assignment to Low-A Charleston seems like the logical move to begin 2016, although the team could aggressively push Rutherford to High-A Tampa if they’ve really liked what they’ve seen.

Fans should have very little reason to worry about their budding blue-chipper. We still need official word from the team as to Rutherford’s timetable, but this seems like just a minor blip for the 19-year-old as he makes his way to the Bronx.