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White Sox prospect Rutherford hoping for consistency

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Consistency has become the 2018 watchword for Blake Rutherford, who is the No. 7 White Sox prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

It's consistency in regards to the left-handed-hitting outfielder posting a .338 average and an .808 OPS through 71 at-bats for Class A Winston-Salem. But it's more about consistency with approach and focus for Rutherford, who was the cornerstone return of the trade sending Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees last season.

CHICAGO -- Consistency has become the 2018 watchword for Blake Rutherford, who is the No. 7 White Sox prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

It's consistency in regards to the left-handed-hitting outfielder posting a .338 average and an .808 OPS through 71 at-bats for Class A Winston-Salem. But it's more about consistency with approach and focus for Rutherford, who was the cornerstone return of the trade sending Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees last season.

"The main thing is the mental approach I have going into every game," Rutherford told MLB.com during a recent interview. "I go in with a clear mind, where last year there were times where I would drag at-bats on at-bats and games on games.

"I would have some bad games, and instead of ending it right there, I would drag it into the next game. So just the experience of the mental approach I have of taking it day by day and at-bat by at-bat."

Video: Prospect Watch: Blake Rutherford

Rutherford hit .213 over 122 at-bats for Class A Kannapolis in 2017 after coming over from the Yankees, which provided a direct path to Rutherford's present change. He finished with 25 doubles overall last season and has seven this season, but only has five home runs in 581 career Minor League at-bats.

Some level of power should eventually arrive for a talented player who turns a mere 21 on May 2. But Rutherford isn't looking at any stats right now, as much as studying what he's doing to get the positive results.

"Honestly, I don't want to look at the big scoreboard to see what the stats are," Rutherford said. "I'm trying to focus on doing my job every single at-bat and hit the ball hard. If I go up there and put myself in a good position to hit and I'm on time and get a pitch to hit, good things will keep happening for me.

"Do the little things, because it's too early to talk about any of that stuff. I'm super happy to have the opportunity to play with the group I'm playing with now and continue to learn with them."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Blake Rutherford