WASHINGTON – Things are starting to come together for Jackson Rutledge.
Drafted by the Nationals in the first round in 2019, the right-handed starting pitcher from Missouri posted another strong outing on Wednesday for low Single-A Fredericksburg.
After posting an ERA of 7.68 last season across three levels, Rutledge lowered his ERA to 4.99 in 16 starts this year with Fredericksburg.
Rutledge is 6-6 after he gave up just three hits and no runs in seven innings on Wednesday.
He fanned 10 batters and walked just two as he picked up the win in Lynchburg, Virginia against a farm team of Cleveland.
“Getting ahead with first pitch strikes, limiting long at-bats for pitch-count purposes, and keeping off-speed pitches competitive throughout,” Fredericksburg manager Jake Lowery wrote to Federal Baseball on Thursday about Rutledge.
Rutledge has an ERA of 1.59 in three starts this month after he posted a mark of 5.40 in July.
He is working under the guidance of Fredericksburg pitching coach Joel Hanrahan, a former closer for the Nationals.
Hanrahan had been working in player development with the Pirates before joining the Washington minor league system prior to this season.
Jackson Rutledge (@FXBGNats) last night:— Nationals Player Development (@Nats_PlayerDev) August 18, 2022
10 K (career-high)
Over his last 6 starts, Jackson has struck out 40 batters and walked only 8 in 35 IP.@J_Cheddar34 // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/yVqZjXAyXG
A change in pitching coaches for Rutledge hasn’t slowed down his progress according to Lowery, a native of Richmond who was the top catcher in the nation while at JMU in 2011.
“His prep has always been immaculate, he really is a routine-oriented player with solid in-between start prep,” adds Lowery, who played in the minors for Cleveland and Washington after he was drafted in the fourth round out JMU in Harrisonburg by the Guardians.
Rutledge turned 23 earlier this year; he was drafted by Washington out of a junior college in Texas.
“He does have a purpose for what he is doing,” instructor Justin Lord told Federal Baseball last year about Rutledge. “He has the talent, he is into analytics. He knows what it takes” to move up the ladder.
Lord is the pitching coach this season for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators in the Washington system.
Harrisburg has a series this week at Altoona, a farm team of the Pirates.
Triple-A Rochester is on the road this week at Worcester, the top affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks, the high Single-A team of the Nationals, has a series this week at Jersey Shore.