While Los Angeles Dodgers' surging top prospect Dalton Rushing's season appeared to peak with a Futures Game invite and a trip to Seattle for All-Star Weekend, the slugging catcher was not at his physical best in mid-July.
Rushing was still likely experiencing the aftereffects of being struck on the head by a bat mid-swing on June 13; he would eventually hit the IL twice, once with a documented concussion, and hit .179 with a single homer in July and .125 (with four bombs) in 15 August contests.
Come September, though, Rushing has looked like his "old" self (yes, he's still just 22 and in his first full season), turning the mashing on once again as he began to distance himself from the inciting incident.
While the catcher hasn't managed to replicate his 2022 video game slash line (.404/.522/.740 with eight bombs and 30 RBI in 20 games), he's still punished the baseball when healthy, tattooing six homers in a nine-game stretch recently to recover those numbers nicely.
Dodgers top prospect Dalton Rushing shakes off scary concussion for hot September
There's a reason he's surpassed Diego Cartaya in the eyes of many prospect appraisers, and now ranks No. 1 on MLB Pipeline's team top 30, ahead of both Cartaya and Michael Busch in the No. 2 slot.
Rushing's average with the Great Lakes Loons was dragged down by his summer struggles, but despite the .228 mark, he's still at a .404 OBP for the season, proving his keen eye was mostly unaffected by any malaise.
The kid's still quite a ways away from the bigs, considering he's going to end up spending the entire 2023 season at High-A -- whether that was the plan or not before his high-profile impact is hard to say. Either way, the Dodgers still have Will Smith locked in at the big-league level, so they must once again choose between the incumbent or between clearing a path for Rushing (or Cartaya) this offseason.
Last year, they kicked the tires, but ultimately delayed the decision for another year. That year is now, and Rushing rounding into form at the tail end of the season could force some action (Cartaya, struggling at Tulsa and less appealing in any prospect package, is down at .189).