Name: Dalton Rushing
Height/Weight: 6’1” 220
After spending 2021 as the primary backup to the eventual overall No. 1 pick (Henry Davis), Dalton Rushing seized the opportunity, breaking out with a monster stat line in 2022. A left-handed bat that produced 23 home runs, a high-walk rate and generated an OPS of 1.156 fueled his ascent up the draft boards. If that stat line isn’t enough, scouts can point to his performance in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2021. The wooden bat league has long been a favorite barometer of scouts, and Rushing did not disappoint, slashing .314/.401/.542 in 142 plate appearances.
On the defensive side, Rushing projects to be adequate behind the plate. He possesses good arm strength and accuracy, with a need to add experience and agility. Tempering Rushing’s draft status is his inability to play another position. Given his lack of speed, the only other option for him is first base. With his lack of size and the high-offensive expectations attached to that position, his path to the majors becomes muddled. His draft position is dependent on a team’s belief is capable of being a major league catcher.
Why Would the White Sox Draft Dalton Rushing?
If any position group could use an infusion of talent, it’s catcher. Adam Hackenberg is the system’s only Top 30 prospect. Drafted for his defense, Hackenberg has surprised offensively, giving him a legitimate shot to become a major league starter. Carlos Perez has impressed in Charlotte and may be in Chicago at some point this season. Despite his success, he’s 25 years old with a ceiling of a backup.
2021 draftee Colby Smelley is off to a decent start in Class-A Kannapolis, and Victor Torres, an 11th rounder in 2019 out of Puerto Rico, continues to struggle with the bat. If the White Sox determine that Rushing is strong enough defensively to play at the major league level adding him would bring another much-needed high-ceiling catching prospect into the fold. If the White Sox are unable to land him or choose to take a pass, look for them to take a catcher in the top five rounds.
Given the uncertainty about his defense and the lack of a fallback position, it’s questionable whether the White Sox would gamble on him in the first round. However, a left-handed bat with power and the ability to get on base is very enticing. Given the acute need to add catching depth to the system, the White Sox could deem him worth the risk. Or they could wait and try to nab him in the second round.
Recent mock drafts have Dalton Rushing climbing up the board — edging closer to first-round territory. Based on current information, he’ll likely be around when the White Sox are on the clock at number 26. In the most recent mock drafts at MLB Pipeline, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo both left Rushing out of their top 39 projections entirely but the publication ranks him #50 overall in the class. . Keith Law of The Athletic didn’t project the Louisville backstop in the first round either in his latest iteration. He did rank as the #41 overall player in the class however according to Law.
Kiley McDaniel of ESPN projected the Louisville product to the Houston Astros with the 28th pick in the first round of his most recent attempt and Prospect’s Live did the same in their newest projection as well. Carlos Collazo of Baseball America sent Rushing to the Los Angeles Dodgers with pick #40 in his latest version.
10 G, 26 AB, .308/.419/.577, .996 OPS, 7 R, 8 H, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI 0 SB, 4 BB, 10 K
28 G, 76 AB, .254/.342/.463, .805 OPS, 9 R, 17 H, 2 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 1 SB, 8 BB, 21 K
64 G, 298 AB, .310/.470/.686, 1.156 OPS, 68 R, 70 H, 16 2B, 23 HR, 62 RBI, 4 SB, 50 BB, 58 K
Cape Cod League
34 G, 142 AB, .314/.401/.542, .944 OPS, 23 R, 37 H, 9 2B, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 1 SB, 17 BB, 31 K