Chicago Cubs: 2019 MLB Draft Profile and Interview with Jackson Rutledge

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
Chicago Cubs, MLB Draft
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs could select junior college breakout star pitcher Jackson Rutledge with the 27th overall pick. There’s a lot to like about this kid.

The Chicago Cubs could potentially get a steal in starting pitcher Jackson Rutledge with the 27th overall pick.

Rutledge stands at 6′-8″ and 255 pounds. He went undrafted straight out of high school in the 2017 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft and and elected to enroll at the University of Arkansas.

An injury to his hip plagued his 2018 season and he ultimately decided to transfer to San Jacinto Junior College to work on developing his secondary pitches while staying healthy.

Rutledge consistently throws in the upper 90’s and scouts love his newly developed slider.

"Rutledge is throwing his fastball in the upper 90s and holding that velocity deep into his outings. His walks are down, and some scouts even go as far as projecting all four of his pitches—including his newly developed slider—as plus. Through 11 starts he had recorded a 1.02 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 70. 2 innings. – via BaseballAmerica"

He is verbally committed to Kentucky in the fall, but could elect to go straight to professional baseball if he feels the timing is right. Rutledge was ranked as the number 1 junior college pitcher in the country last fall and is currently ranked as the seventh best pitcher in the draft.

Jackson Rutledge would be a great get for the Cubs with the 27th overall pick, further stocking up on pitching prospects. With his experience and pitching arsenal, I could see him being ready for the big leagues as soon as 2021. As previously noted, his fastball touches the upper 90’s and would be the power pitcher that the Cubs would need in their future rotation.

We covered those topics and more during a recent Q&A with Jackson.

Q&A with Jackson Rutledge

Q: I am sorry things did not work out for you at Arkansas. Are you able to speak a little bit on that and what eventually lead you to San Jac College?

A: Things with Arkansas did not work out in the way that I planned due to issues I had with my hip. I had surgery to repair the hip labrum after my return home from last season and decided that it would be a safer route to go to a Juco for a year rather than return in the fall.

Q: During your time at JuCo, how did you rediscover what previously worked for you and why have you been virtually unhittable this season? 

A: Some of the most important things that gave me success at San Jac were my routines and my attention to detail. Finding the right things to do in preparation for starts, knowing why I do them, and getting the absolute most out of every detail is what gave me consistency in my outings. Once I had these routines locked down, it was easy to have confidence in attacking hitters and dominating games knowing that I was well prepared.

Q: What would it mean for you to not only come all the way back after not being drafted in 2017 but to potentially be a first-round draft pick this year?

A: Being a potential first rounder is an incredible honor that obviously means a lot and is a step towards the eventual goal is to have a long career in the major leagues. Not getting drafted out of high school was mostly a product of me not being mentally and physically ready, so being where I am now shows how much work and improvement has occurred since then in those areas.

Q: As a guy from St. Louis, what would it mean to you to be drafted by a team like the Chicago Cubs? 

A: Because I grew up in St. Louis, I have been a Cardinals fan since I was young, but that does not matter once I am a part of an organization. No matter what team I am drafted to, I am going to put everything I can into that club and community. If I get the opportunity to be a part of the Cubs, I am going to do my best to add to the already historic city and baseball team.

Q: You have a terrific fastball that touches the upper 90’s, but can you touch on what other pitches you feel extremely confident in throwing?

A: I have found a lot of success this year in both of my breaking pitches. Before this past fall I had only thrown a “slurve” type breaking ball and decided to break that into both a true slider and curve ball that miss a lot of bats and set my fastball up for more success. I also mix in a change up that has been much improved over the past year that I have confidence in to tunnel with my two seam, especially to high level hitters.

Q: I know you are committed to Kentucky in the fall, but what might it take for you to bypass college for professional baseball?

A: A career in professional baseball is the eventual goal for me, so if the situation is right for me this year, then I am completely ready to take that. If not, then I will continue to prove myself at Kentucky for a year and hope the opportunity is right for me at that time.

Q: Are there any Major League pitchers that you model your game after or anyone that you look up to?

A: Adam Wainwright has always been a hero of mine, partially because of the player he is, but mostly because of the type of leader and person he is. Although we pitch differently, I aim to have the same mindset and body language as he does both on the field and in the locker room.

Must Read. 3 players who deserve an extension this offseason. light

Q: Is there anything else you want Cubs fans to know about you if you were to be drafted by them in June?

A: If I get the chance to be a part of the organization, I’m looking forward to some Giordano’s deep dish!

A special thank you to Jackson Rutledge (@J_Cheddar34) for taking the time to speak with me. Good luck to him and his upcoming draft preparation.