September 13: The Nats have now made it official, recalling Rutledge with righty Mason Thompson optioned in a corresponding move.
September 12: The Nationals are recalling pitching prospect Jackson Rutledge to make his major league debut tomorrow against the Pirates, skipper Dave Martinez told reporters (including Bobby Blanco of MASNsports.com). Grant Paulsen of 106.7 FM The Fan first reported Rutledge was en route to Pittsburgh this afternoon.
Rutledge, 24, was Washington’s first-round draftee back in 2019. A Texas junior college product, the 6’8″ righty has appeared among the Nats’ top 10 prospects at Baseball America entering each of the last four seasons. He’d been nagged by injury concerns early in his professional career but he has shown a promising raw arsenal.
As one might expect given his size, Rutledge has a mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s slider which BA suggests could be a plus offering. The outlet placed him seventh among Washington minor leaguers on their midseason update, writing that he has a chance to stick at the back of a major league rotation.
Rutledge has made 23 minor league starts this season, splitting the year almost evenly between the top two levels. He worked to a 3.16 ERA over 12 outings for Double-A Harrisburg before posting a 4.44 mark in 11 starts at Triple-A Rochester. Overall, he has allowed 3.71 earned runs per nine through 119 innings. His 21.3% strikeout rate and 11.1% walk percentage are both middling, but the results were solid enough for the Nats to give him an initial look.
Washington added Rutledge to the 40-man roster last winter to keep him out of the Rule 5 draft. They’ll need only to make an active roster transaction to accommodate his promotion tomorrow. He could take three or four starts down the stretch as he tries to put himself on the radar for a spot in next year’s starting staff.