The Nationals announced an agreement with first-round pick Jackson Rutledge on Monday. Rutledge’s pick (No. 17) comes with a $3.61MM slot value, but he’ll receive $3.45MM, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.
The 6-foot-8 Rutledge, a right-handed pitcher from San Jacinto College in Houston, entered the draft as a top 15 prospect in the eyes of MLB.com (No. 12), Baseball America (No. 14) and ESPN’s Keith Law (No. 15). In their free scouting report, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com write that Rutledge is one of the premier junior college draft prospects in recent memory and may have “the best all-around stuff” in this year’s class. The 20-year-old Rutledge’s fastball sits between 94 and 97 mph, and can hit 99 on occasion. He complements that offering with an impressive slider and a potentially “plus” curveball.
FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen are a bit less bullish on Rutledge than the rest, as they ranked him 21st going into the draft. They note there are concerns regarding Rutledge’s “build, athleticism, and injured hips,” though they still regard him as a “physical beast” with an imposing fastball and promising breaking pitches.