The University of Kentucky baseball team got a major shot in the arm last November when it signed the No. 1-ranked junior college recruit in the country. After Monday night, there’s a good chance the Wildcats will never see him take the field dressed in blue and white.
Kentucky signee Jackson Rutledge was selected by the Washington Nationals at No. 17 overall in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Monday night. If Rutledge opted to enroll at UK rather than sign an MLB contract, he’d likely be foregoing millions of dollars.
After going undrafted out of high school, Rutledge spent his freshman season at Arkansas before transferring to San Jacinto (Texas) College. After committing to Kentucky, the 6-foot-8, 250-pound right-handed pitcher dominated the junior college ranks this past season, going 9-2 with a 0.87 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 13 starts as he rocketed up the MLB prospect rankings.
Should Rutledge decide to enroll at UK rather than begin his professional career, he would be eligible to pitch for the Wildcats in the upcoming season.