Joshua Alan Rutledge
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 190 lb.
- School University of Alabama
- High School Cullman High School
- Debut July 13, 2012
Shortstop Josh Rutledge debuted in the majors in 2012.
Rutledge hit .436/.497/.602 as a high school junior. As a senior, he improved to .454 with 12 home runs and 69 RBI as his team won a state title and he won All-State honors. As a freshman in college, he batted .369/.429/.418 with 62 runs and 16 steals (caught 3 times) in 61 games. He became the second freshman to lead Alabama in average, following Dave Magadan (1981). Collegiate Baseball named him a Freshman All-American. He tied Rich Poythress for third in the Southeastern Conference with 99 hits. He spent the summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and produced at a .294/.365/.393 rate.
As a sophomore, Josh batted .305/.398/.444 with 64 runs in 57 contests. He was All-Southeastern Conference at shortstop (one of two players picked there). He fell to .250/.315/.268 in a second summer with Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League. His junior year, Rutledge hit .360/.396/.529 with 65 runs and 69 RBI in 67 games. He broke Andy Phillips' school record for RBI by a shortstop and made first-team All-SEC. He led the SEC in hits (107) and tied Jason Esposito for 4th in total bases (157). He also tied for 6th in NCAA Division I in hits.
Rutledge was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the third round of the 2010 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Damon Iannelli and made his pro debut that summer with the Tri-City Dust Devils, going just 5 for 39 with 4 walks and 4 errors. With the Modesto Nuts the next year, he hit .348/.414/.517 with 33 doubles, 91 runs, 9 home runs and 71 RBIs. He fielded .943 at short. He was 10th in the California League in runs, but was second in average (behind Jedd Gyorko by .017), was third in OBP, ranked 7th in slugging, was 5th in OPS (between Angelo Songco and Gary Brown), tied for 3rd in triples (9, behind Brown and Mat Long), and was 5th in hits (160). He was named the league's All-Star shortstop. He set a record for average by a Rockies minor leaguer (breaking Brad Hawpe's 9-year-old mark by .001) and tied Seth Smith for second in hits by a Rockies minor leaguer (one behind Cory Sullivan) historically.
He began 2012 with the AA Tulsa Drillers, hitting .306/.338/.508 with 27 doubles and a 13 homers in 87 games while fielding .978 at short. He was called up to the majors when Todd Helton went on the DL. Unfortunately, his luggage was lost on the way to Colorado and he made due with equipment from new teammates Troy Tulowitzki, Jordan Pacheco and DJ LeMahieu.
Rutledge made his big league debut on July 13, 2012, hitting 8th and starting at short against the Philadelphia Phillies. He would have a fine day. In his first at-bat, he doubled off Cliff Lee to score Michael Cuddyer. He later singled off Lee, had a sacrifice fly to score Tyler Colvin and drew a walk from Michael Schwimer then stole second base. he ended up hitting .274 with 20 doubles, 8 homers and 37 RBIs in 73 games, spending most of his time at shortstop, filling in for an injured Tulowitzki. In 2013, he played 88 games for the Rockies, hitting .235 with 7 homers and 19 RBIs; his doubles production also fell significantly, from 20 to only 6. This time, he played mostly at second base, with an occasional game at shortstop. In 2014, with Tulowitzki out for the second half of the year, he played 105 games. His offensive production bounced back to some extent, with a .269 average, 16 doubles, 7 triples and 4 homers; his OPS+ increased from 63 to 92 which made him a useful back-up, although it was a bit low when needed to start for extensive stretches.
On December 11, 2014, the Rockies traded Rutledge to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Jairo Diaz. he failed to make the team out of spring training in 2015, however, and was assigned to the AAA Salt Lake Bees. In 78 games there, he hit .274 with 5 homers and 32 RBIs and on July 27th was traded to the Boston Red Sox in return for veteran big league outfielder Shane Victorino. He had a great game for Boston on August 15th against the Seattle Mariners, even though he did not even start. Taking over for an injured Pablo Sandoval in the 3rd inning, he reached base and scored in all four of his plate appearances the rest of the game, twice with singles and twice with walks, making a significant contribution to a 22-10 win. he hit .284 in 39 games with the Red Sox, with 1 homer and 10 RBIs. In 2016, he played 28 games with Boston, hitting .265 with no homers and 3 RBIs and also had five games in AAA with the Pawtucket Red Sox, but was inactive after mid-June because of a knee injury. He became a free agent after the season, and in a strange series of twists, first was signed by the Rockies on November 23rd, and then was picked by the Red Sox in the 2016 Rule V Draft.