Royals’ Milo Rushford Shows Improved Strength, Outstanding Work Ethic


If there’s one key lesson that 19-year-old outfielder Milo Rushford has learned from his father, it’s perseverance.

After his career at San Diego State, Jim Rushford spent five years bouncing around various independent leagues before finally getting a chance in affiliated ball, debuting with the Brewers’ High-A affiliate in 2001 at the age of 27. One year later, Jim made it to the big leagues for 23 games. 

That type of determination has been handed down from father to son.

“If there’s one person who would never give up and give it his best every single day,” Milo Rushford said, “it was my dad, and I think I learned a bit of that from him.”

Milo didn’t have to wait as long as his father to get to affiliated ball, making his pro debut last summer in the Arizona Complex League after being drafted in the 18th round out of high school in Arizona. Back in the ACL this season, Rushford hit .360/.468/.580 through his first 14 games. 

Rushford has more pop in his lefthanded swing this year after adding strength to his wiry, 6-foot frame. Just three minutes into the ACL season, he slammed a ball into the right-center field gap for a triple in his first official at-bat. 

“This offseason I stayed at the complex and did the team workouts,” Rushford said. “We did lifts multiple days a week, yoga every day . . . I ended up putting on about 10 pounds from last year.”

The improvement since instructional league last fall has piqued the interest of scouts covering the Arizona backfields, who are especially impressed by Rushford’s tools, makeup and projection. 

ACL Royals hitting coach Ramon Castro, who played winter ball in Venezuela with Milo’s dad nearly 20 years ago, also was impressed by the younger Rushford’s makeup.

“He’s a special guy,” Castro said. “He’s working really hard in the cage and he’s doing everything we want.”

If his hit tool develops, Rushford profiles best as a bat-first corner outfielder. That Rushford family perseverance increases the odds that his hard work will eventually pay off.

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