Drafted again, Rutledge hopes to go pro

Lex Rutledge was drafted for the second time Tuesday and this time he intends to sign.
Rutledge, a junior pitcher at Samford who payed at Tupelo High School, was taken in the sixth round of Tuesday’s Major League Baseball Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
“I plan on signing,” Rutledge said. “We’ll see how everything works out. It’s been my dream and I’m ready to play. It’s a long grinding road to get there and it started today.
“I’ll take it all in but I’d really like to sign. That’s the plan.”
Rutledge has made his reputation as a hard-throwing left-hander with a fastball in the mid to high 90s. He is ranked the No. 148 prospect by Baseball America.
Fastball of note
The attention is on his fastball. Baltimore reportedly likes his curveball and 80-plus MPH breaking ball as well and will focus on his command after 84 walks in 142 innings at Samford.
“I’ve got to do a better job with my curve and get a better feel for my changeup and continue to work on my fastball command,” he said.
Rutledge (6-foot-1, 187) has rotated at starter and reliever in his three years at Samford, which eliminated Mississippi State last week at the Tallahassee Regional.
After his senior season at Tupelo, he was taken in the 26th round of the 2009 draft by Milwaukee.
“I wasn’t ready at 17 years old to handle it mentally,” Rutledge said. “I’m a lot more prepared and ready.”
He had 33 relief appearances as a freshman at Samford and was named third-team All-American after tying a team mark with 11 saves, a 5-1 record and a 1.71 ERA.
Rutledge led the Bulldogs in strikeouts his first two seasons and this season started three of his 25 appearances and finished 1-4 with a 6.81 ERA.
“It’s different bouncing back and forth but at the same time you’re still going out there and whichever role you’re in, you have to try to pitch and get outs,” he said. “I couldn’t have had a better experience here. It’s been the greatest three years of my life.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com