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MLB Draft 2019: Washington Nationals select RHP Jackson Rutledge with 17th overall pick in 1st Round

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While all the mock drafts had the Nationals going another direction, Washington went with right-hander Jackson Rutledge as their top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Screencap via @Nationals on Twitter.

With the 17th overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft, the Washington Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Jackson Rutledge out of San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College.

Rutledge is a 6’8’’ right-hander who was the second-highest ranked right-handed pitching on MLB Pipeline’s list of the Top prospects for the 2019 Draft, writing that the pitcher, “... emerged as the best junior college prospect since Bryce Harper went No. 1 overall out of Southern Nevada in 2010 and the best in Texas since Clay Buchholz was a supplemental first-rounder from Angelina in 2005.”

They had to mention Harper, right.

“Rutledge pitches at 94-97 mph and reaches 99 with his fastball, showing the ability to carry premium velocity into the late innings,” they added, noting that with the pitcher’s, “... huge 6-foot-8 frame, Rutledge creates difficult angle on his pitches that make them even harder to hit.”

Here’s how they graded his stuff: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 55:

MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo both had Rutledge going in the Top 10 in their final mock drafts. ESPN.com’s Keith Law had him at No. 11. He fell to the Nationals at No. 17.

Here’s some video on Rutledge via our friends at 2080 baseball..

Here’s some more info from the Nationals’ press release on the selection:

“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.

“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.”

Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo and Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline will be holding a conference call with reporters at the conclusion of the first round.

We’ll update with notes and quotes after they speak about the Nationals’ top pick of this year’s draft.