The Washington Nationals selected collegiate right-handed pitcher Jackson Rutledge with the No. 17 selection in the 2019 First-Year Player Draft. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo, Assistant General Manager & Vice President of Scouting Operations Kris Kline and Director of Scouting Operations Eddie Longosz made the joint announcement.
Rutledge, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound sophomore went 9-2 with a 0.87 ERA (8 ER/82.2 IP) and 134 strikeouts in 13 starts in his first season at San Jacinto (TX) College. His 0.87 ERA led all of NJCAA Division 1, while his 134 strikeouts were good for second and his 14.59 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched ranked sixth. He tossed four complete games (two shutouts), allowed just one home run and issued just 30 walks in 2019.
For his efforts in 2019, Rutledge was named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, presented by USA Baseball to the top amateur baseball player in America. He is the only 2019 semifinalist from a Junior College and is just the fourth Junior College player to be named a semifinalist in the award’s history.
Rutledge entered the 2019 First-Year Player draft rated by Baseball America as the No. 14 draft prospect and by MLBPipeline.com as the No. 12 draft prospect. He is considered the No. 3 pitching prospect in the Draft by MLBPipeline.com, while Baseball America places him as the No. 4 pitcher and the second-best right-handed pitching prospect.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., and a graduate of Rockwood Summit High School, Rutledge began his collegiate career at the University of Arkansas where he went 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA (6 ER/15.2 IP) in 12 games (three starts) for the Razorbacks in 2018.