Jackson Rutledge
Rutledge with the Arkansas Razorbacks
Washington Nationals – No. 79
Born: (1999-04-01) April 1, 1999 (age 24)
Fenton, Missouri, U.S.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 13, 2023, for the Washington Nationals
MLB statistics
(through 2023 season)
Win–loss record1–1
Earned run average6.75

Jackson Christian Rutledge (born April 1, 1999) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2023.

Amateur career

Rutledge attended Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, Missouri. In 2017, as a senior, he went 7-1 with a 1.19 ERA.[1] He went undrafted in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft and enrolled at the University of Arkansas to play college baseball for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

As a freshman at Arkansas in 2018, Rutledge appeared in 12 games in which he went 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA.[2] He began the year as a key pitcher out of the bullpen, but struggled in Southeastern Conference play, compiling a 27.00 ERA in three games, and did not pitch at all during the month of May.[3][4] He announced that month that he would transfer and spend the 2019 season at San Jacinto College.[5] During the 2018 offseason, he committed to play his 2020 junior season at the University of Kentucky.[6] Rutledge broke out as a sophomore for the San Jacinto Central Ravens in 2019, pitching to a 9-2 record with a 0.87 ERA in 13 games, striking out 134 in 82+23 innings.[7]

Professional career

Rutledge was considered one of the top prospects for the 2019 Major League Baseball draft.[8] He was selected by the Washington Nationals with the 17th overall pick.[9] He agreed to terms with the Nationals on June 17 for $3.45 million.[10][11] He made his professional debut with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals before being promoted to the Auburn Doubledays of the Low–A New York–Penn League after one game. He was promoted to the Hagerstown Suns of the Single–A South Atlantic League in July, with whom he finished the year. Over ten starts between the three clubs, he went 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA, striking out 39 over 37+13 innings.[12] Rutledge did not play in a game in 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor league season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[13]

To begin the 2021 season, he was assigned to the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the High-A East.[14] After pitching 10+23 innings, in which he gave up 15 earned runs and 17 hits, he was placed on the injured list with a shoulder injury.[15] He was activated in July, and reassigned to the Fredericksburg Nationals of the Low-A East.[16] He was placed back on the injured list in early August, and returned later that month.[17] Over 22 innings pitched with Fredericksburg, Rutledge went 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA and 26 strikeouts. He was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Surprise Saguaros after the season.[18] Rutledge pitched 3⅓ innings in relief for the Saguaros in the championship game on November 20, 2021, versus the Mesa Solar Sox, giving up two runs but striking out seven. MLB Pipeline rated him as Surprise's top performer in the game, a 6–0 Mesa win.[19] He returned to Fredericksburg to open the 2022 season.[20] In 20 starts for Fredericksburg, he recorded a 8–6 record and 4.90 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 97+13 innings pitched.[21]

On November 15, 2022, the Nationals added Rutledge to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.[22] He was optioned to the Double-A Harrisburg Senators to begin the 2023 season.[23] In 23 starts split between Harrisburg and the Triple–A Rochester Red Wings,[24] he accumulated an 8–4 record and 3.71 ERA with 106 strikeouts in 119.0 innings of work.[25] On September 13, 2023, Rutledge was promoted to the major leagues for the first time.[26] He faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in his major league debut that same day, and took the loss.[25] Rutledge recorded his first career win against the Atlanta Braves on September 24.[27]

Pitching style

Rutledge stands 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m), taller than the average pitcher, although his arm action is relatively short and compact.[28] He throws a four-seam fastball that has been clocked as fast as 99 miles per hour (159 km/h),[29] complementing it with a slider, a changeup, and a curveball.[28] Rutledge introduced the slider during his 2019 season with San Jacinto after tweaking his grip to differentiate it from his curveball. He has credited Ross Detwiler, also a first-round selection of the Washington Nationals in the 2007 MLB draft, for helping him develop his changeup.[9]


  1. ^ "Four amateur players to attend 2019 MLB Draft". MLB.com. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Hogs had toughest road slate". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. 24 May 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "Jackson Rutledge will transfer to Texas junior college". WholeHogSports. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  4. ^ "Rutledge Announces Transfer from Razorback Baseball Program". Local Memphis. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  5. ^ "Rutledge Announces Transfer from Razorback Baseball Program". KARK.com. 23 May 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "UK baseball program gets commitment from nation's No. 1-ranked junior college recruit". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "This Rockwood Summit grad could be a hot first-round pick in the upcoming MLB Draft". ksdk.com. 19 May 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  8. ^ "MLB.com 2019 Prospect Watch". MLB.com. Archived from the original on June 15, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Kerr, Byron (June 3, 2019). "Rizzo: Rutledge possesses "skill set we really go after"". MASN Sports. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  10. ^ @Nationals (June 17, 2019). "We've agreed to terms with 2019 first-round draft pick Jackson Rutledge" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ "Nationals introduce first-round draft pick Jackson Rutledge - The Washington Post". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2019-06-18.
  12. ^ "Home".
  13. ^ "2020 Minor League Baseball season canceled". MLB.com.
  14. ^ "Nats set minors rosters: Rutledge, Cavalli, Parra among assigned".
  15. ^ "Nationals' Jackson Rutledge: Out with shoulder injury".
  16. ^ "FredNats hope Jackson Rutledge's patience matches his potential".
  17. ^ "Nationals' Jackson Rutledge: Out with blister".
  18. ^ "Here are the Arizona Fall League rosters". MLB.com.
  19. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (November 20, 2021). "These 8 players shined in the AFL title game". MLB.com. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  20. ^ "Where Nationals Top 30 prospects are starting '22". MLB.com.
  21. ^ "Jackson Rutledge - Stats - Pitching". fangraphs.com. Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  22. ^ Zuckerman, Mark (November 15, 2022). "Hernandez among cuts as Nats add six players to 40-man roster". MASN. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  23. ^ "Senators Announce 2023 Opening Day Roster". MILB.com. April 6, 2023. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  24. ^ Golden, Andrew (July 5, 2023). "Jackson Rutledge, the Nationals' 2019 first-round pick, is on the rise". Washington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  25. ^ a b "Reynolds hits 21st homer, Pirates beat Nationals 7-6 to spoil Rutledge's debut". September 13, 2023. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  26. ^ Anderson, R. J. (September 13, 2023). "Jackson Rutledge promotion: Nationals call up former first-round draft pick for major-league debut". CBS Sports. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  27. ^ "Jackson Rutledge earns 1st career victory as Nationals defeat Braves 3-2 in DH opener". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 24, 2023. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  28. ^ a b "Nationals' Jackson Rutledge: Popped by Nationals with 17th pick". CBS Sports. June 3, 2019. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  29. ^ Bristol, Jason (June 3, 2019). "San Jacinto College pitcher a high-end MLB Draft prospect". KHOU 11. Retrieved June 3, 2019.