Draft Prospect Q&A: Matt Purke

As the 2011 Draft draws closer, MLBTR will be introducing you to a handful of the top eligible prospects with a series of Q&As. The series debuted last week with one of the top college pitchers in the nation and continues today with another.

Matt Purke

Matt Purke pitched well enough as a high schooler to go in the first round of the 2009 draft. He didn't sign with the Rangers, who selected him 14th overall, and instead joined the TCU Horned Frogs. He led the team to its first ever College World Series appearance last year with a shiny 16-0 record and 142 strikeouts in 116 innings. 

The 20-year-old sophomore is draft eligible once again and, according to Baseball America and ESPN.com's Keith Law, should go in the first round once again, possibly first overall. Baseball America called Purke "a bona fide ace with a lively 91-94 mph fastball and a wipeout slider" that can overmatch hitters. Purke calls his breaking ball a curve, but he isn't going to get into an argument about semantics with the publication that named him the 2010 Baseball America Freshman of the Year.

Purke talked to MLBTR this afternoon. Here's what we discussed:


Ben Nicholson-Smith – Can you describe yourself as a pitcher – what pitches you throw and what your approach is on the mound?

Matt Purke – I’d just say I’m a normal pitcher like any other. I just throw three pitches: fastball, curveball, change-up and my approach to pitching is to be very aggressive and get guys out as quick as possible. 

BNS – What about your off-speed pitches. Which one would you be more likely to throw in a go-to situation?

MP – I’d say I’m equally confident with both [the curve and the change] at any point in time. 

BNS – You say you’re like any other pitcher, but do you think you resemble any current major leaguers or past major leaguers in the way that you go about pitching?

MP – I’d say I get compared to Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, a young kid, and Cole Hamels of the Phillies. I have kind of the same body build, the same arm action, things like that.

BNS – Two pretty good pitchers that you just named. When people compare you to those guys is that a comparison that you like to hear?

MP – Definitely, definitely. Any time that you get compared to someone playing professional baseball it’s definitely a compliment that you take pride in.

BNS – Do you watch those guys during the season as fellow left-handers and see how they go out and attack hitters?

MP – I watch baseball when I’m not playing baseball, so I’ll catch them every now and then. So I try to watch them and just use some of the stuff that they do to help me out.

BNS – You’ve been through the draft before as a first rounder before, so does that make it any easier having already experienced the rigors of being drafted?

MP – Yeah. The experience is nothing you can take away – it just helps. I know what to expect with the months coming and know what to expect the few days before. That’s already transpired, so obviously I’m in a more comfortable state than I was when I was first drafted out of high school.

BNS – You have the whole rest of the season ahead of you here, but what is there to expect once that draft actually comes around?

MP – I don’t have any control in it, I have no say in what happens. All I can do is sit there and watch … It’s definitely an opportunity to be drafted and have the opportunity to play professional baseball, but really it’s another process you’ve got to go through. So it’s an exciting time and a stressful time, but it’s nothing that you wouldn’t want.

BNS – Can you compare Matt Purke the 2009 pitcher and Matt Purke the 2011 pitcher?

MP – I’d say now I’m definitely a lot more seasoned [now]. I learned a lot more, not only on the field but off of the field. After ’09 I was a young high school kid that really just played baseball and I only knew what I had done in the summer with team USA and in high school. And now I’m in college, I’ve been able to travel and learn how travel and also have a social life and be able to take care of my academics as well. So I’ve definitely learned a lot more, have a lot more experience now and I’m a lot more prepared for the travel that’s in the future.

Photo courtesy Michael Clements.

30 Responses to Draft Prospect Q&A: Matt Purke Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 4 years ago

    Feel free Matthew to write a bit more…Only a gazillion people reading this interview

  2. Dave_Gershman 4 years ago

    But Great job with this Ben. Can’t wait for the JBJ one

  3. $1526717 4 years ago

    This kid will be expensive, but the team that gets him will be very pleased. He’ll be a stud.

  4. You forgot the part of the interview where he told you he wanted to be a St. Louis Cardinal.

    • $1519287 4 years ago

      Actually he told me he grew up a Braves fan. No mention of the Cards…

      – BNS

      • Taskmaster75 4 years ago

        So we just have to find an injury prone OFer to trade to the Braves then like last time right? :)

      • Hahaha touche good sir. But we both know how many Cardinals fans stayed true from back in the day when they were the southern most team in the league. There’s a lot of Cardinals fans in the Atlanta area. I’m sure if he had to choose another team, it would be St. Louis. At least I can hope so anyway.

  5. TheodoreRoosevelt 4 years ago

    Damn, Ben, you need a vacation! Good job!

    • $1519287 4 years ago

      Believe it or not, I just had one! Thanks, though!

      – BNS

  6. GrizzlyBeer 4 years ago

    Dbacks take him at 3.

  7. optimusdude 4 years ago

    as a rangers fan… this depresses me. he’s gonna’ be good.

    • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

      I felt same way about DL Drew when he rejected the phils

    • johnsilver 4 years ago

      Understand.. Shame Hicks as in such horrible financial shape and couldn’t sign this stud, but hey Rangers fans.. Look on the bright side..He did find the dough to sign stud Scheppers from that draft at least.

    • ChrisV 4 years ago

      I agree. I was like NOOOO when he decided to go to college instead…if only if only…

  8. alxn 4 years ago

    Someone should introduce him to a weight room

  9. Todd Smith 4 years ago

    I can’t decide who I want the Pirates to take. Rendon and Pedro on the corners in 2013 would be great, but so would Taillon and Purke/Cole as the #1 and #2 starters in 2013-14. Tough choice…can’t get too upset either way they go really…but think I’m still pulling for Rendon. He’s hitting .429/.565/.714 so far this season.

  10. twins06 4 years ago

    it sounds like this kid should be taken no later than the third pick. 16-0 is freakin eye poping and a video game record for a pitcher

  11. hope somehow he falls number nine to the cubs but i dont see it see the diamondbacks taking him with number 3 pick

  12. vonhayesdays 4 years ago

    scott borASS is trying his best to ruin baseball. so Maybe more like monumentally greedy d-bag baseball player 50 % and Phillies being stingy 50% and havent you gotten around to get a picture of werth in Gnats uniform or what

  13. hey freeaec, not trying to be a jerk but look at your own #s. Boras insisted on getting $11 million but drew ended up signing for $7 million. granted the phillies offer was way too low, they should have known they would never sign him for $2.8m. but it at least shows that when agents put a price tag on their players, it’s just wishful thinking… sometimes they get it, but often they do not.

  14. vonhayesdays 4 years ago

    heck yeah i wrote that kinda reminded me of a good old fashioned grade school put down, first one debatable , second one hell no , and I know of den of thieves but conspiracy yarns aren’r really my cup of tea and sure phils should have signed werth but i think they might have offered him money maybe they wanted to see if he could duplicate the year he had , remember he had retired when gillick called him up and said how does that often repaired wrist of yours feel, for that matter we should have never trade lee for B prospects although thats all we gave cleveland in the first place , and borass is ruining baseball

  15. Hahaha. Love this reponse.

  16. twins06 4 years ago

    Yeah boras screwed a lot of teams that draft. Travis lee was supposed to be a twin but im not exactly complaining anymore since i dont think he is even in the minor leagues anymore but i could be wrong. From what i herd is that boras convinced teams not to make an offer until a certain time which was past a deadline date and that allowed them to be free agents

  17. vonhayesdays 4 years ago

    Are you still following Charlie on Twitter

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