Rutledge will begin the season at High-A Wilmington, Maria Torres of The Athletic reports.

This is a shockingly conservative assignment for the 2019 first-round pick, but the Nats appear to be taking a far more cautious approach with their top pitching prospects than other organizations after a lost minor-league season. Rutledge will join Cade Cavalli in the Wilmington rotation, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see both get a quick promotion to Double-A if they overmatch opposing hitters. Starting the year three levels from the majors likely rules out both right-handers from making their big-league debuts in 2021, however.

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