Matt Purke Rumors
Top Nationals prospect Bryce Harper had to leave last night's Double-A contest with a hamstring injury and Washington's medical staff will re-evaluate the 18-year-old outfielder today. In the meantime, here are some links from the Nationals' division...
- Former Nationals president Stan Kasten told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that the Nationals had an "awesome, fantastic" draft this year. Kasten found out that Nats pick Matt Purke looks up to Tom Glavine and was able to set up a talk between the two left-handers.
- Scott Miller of CBSSports.com understands why the Marlins' decision to demote Logan Morrison has drawn so much criticism, but he isn't ready to criticize Florida's move himself. One Marlin told Miller that Morrison was behaving like a superstar before he had even become a star.
- Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News wonders if Jim Thome could end up returning to Philadelphia this season and says there's probably a way to make it happen. "Now it's up to the Phillies to decide whether it makes sense from a competitive standpoint," Hagen writes.
The Nationals committed almost $17MM to their top six draft picks this year: $7.2MM to Anthony Rendon, $2MM to Alex Meyer, $4.15MM to Matt Purke, $3MM to Brian Goodwin, $325K to Kylin Turnbull, and $161,100 to Matt Skole. The figures for Rendon and Purke reflect the guarantees on their Major League deals. Links for the team's record draft bonanza:
- "We're the talk of the industry right now," GM Mike Rizzo told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Rizzo said he finalized deals with Scott Boras advisees Rendon, Meyer, and Goodwin "at the buzzer" last night. Rizzo said that for the first time in his career, he signed four draft picks that he considers to be first-round talents. Yesterday was "a huge day in the history of the Washinton Nationals," in the opinion of vice president of player personnel Roy Clark.
- The Nationals had the parameters of a deal with Purke by late Saturday into Sunday morning, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The southpaw dropped to the third round due to a shoulder injury and his expected asking price, but was willing to allow the Nationals to fully evaluate his health. Rendon will start his professional career at third base, notes Ladson.
- The Nationals' farm system now has depth and star power, writes Kilgore.
The Nationals signed third rounder Matt Purke to a four-year Major League deal, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). The deal is worth roughly $4.4MM.
The Rangers drafted Purke in 2009, selecting him 14th overall out of high school. The following season, Purke was named National Freshman of the Year at TCU.
We're closing in on Monday night's deadline to sign picks from the 2011 Draft. Remember you can see our updated list of first and supplemental round picks who have signed on MLBTR's sidebar, and here's some more of the latest news:
- Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets that the Angels signed fourth-rounder Michael Clevinger for a $250K bonus -- about $50K over slot. Clevinger is a junior college right-hander who throws 93-95mph.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo spent the weekend in Houston, negotiating with Peter Vescovo, the representatitve for third-round pick Matt Purke, writes the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Purke was originally drafted by the Rangers 14th overall in 2009 but elected to pitch at TCU and had some shoulder troubles this year.
- A Mets official told ESPN's Adam Rubin that the organization is confident a deal with first-rounder Brandon Nimmo will be completed prior to the deadline. The Mets selected Nimmo, a high school outfielder from Wyoming, 13th overall.
- The Blue Jays announced in a press release that the club has agreed to terms with three right-handers: third-round pick John Stilson, sixth-round pick Anthony Desclafani, and eighth-round pick Matt Biggs.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets that the Cubs agreed to terms with their 41st-round pick, Austin Urban, on a $100K bonus.
The day of the First-Year Player Draft is finally upon us. Here's the latest news and rumors as tonight's event draws nearer ...
- The Pirates, as has been speculated for several days, will take UCLA righty Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 overall pick, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
- The Orioles have long been linked to prep pitcher Dylan Bundy out of Oklahoma with the No. 4 pick, but they may be shifting focus to Archie Bradley, another prep pitcher, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com.
- Ed Barkowitz of Philly.com identifies TCU lefty Matt Purke as a possibility for the Phillies with their first pick, No. 39. Purke, who was a first-round pick of the Rangers in 2009 but didn't sign, has seen his stock tumble as a result of shoulder troubles.
- Because the Cardinals have only one pick on Day 1 of the draft and only two in the top 100, they're less likely to take risky players, writes Nathan Hart of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The Redbirds are tentatively planning to take a position player, though that is not definite.
- The Rangers are looking at Massachusetts prep righty Tyler Beede, writes Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report, noting how difficult it can be to accurately predict draft picks.
- The Rockies are still on Utah first baseman C.J. Cron at No. 20, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter).
- It's never too late to draft a superstar, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo!, who runs down some of the best steals in draft history.
- The Dodgers worked out Trevor Gretzky, Wayne's son, and Ryan Garvey, Steve's son, on Sunday, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, though both players have committed to college.
- Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald has had a strange journey through the minors, which is why drafting two-sport stars is tricky, writes Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com. Ryan Hannable, also of WEEI.com, has tallied up the experts' projections for the Red Sox's draft picks.
- Owning the first overall pick in the draft does not guarantee future success, writes Rob Neyer of SBNation.com.
Last year's top pick isn't arriving in the big leagues any time soon. Bryce Harper isn't going to play Major League baseball this year, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Washington's ESPN 980. "It's not going to happen, because he's not ready for that to happen," Rizzo said. Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com has the details from Rizzo. Here's the latest on this year's draft...
- You've heard of Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen and UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole, two possible first overall picks. Baseball America ranks other prominent draft-eligible pitchers, including Jed Bradley of Georgia Tech, high schoolers Daniel Norris and Henry Owens, Tyler Anderson of Oregon and Matt Purke of TCU. Every one of those southpaws is a first round talent, according to BA (subscription required).
- Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Purke hopes to pitch tomorrow in TCU's final regular season series. He has been sidelined with a sore shoulder and last pitched April 16th.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo provides scouting reports and video on 50 of this year's top prospects.
- Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com provides a list of top draft-eligible middle infielders, led by high schooler Francisco Lindor. Churchill can't imagine Lindor falling past the Mets, who select 13th overall.
After consecutive disappointing seasons, Kyle Lohse is averaging nearly 8.0 IP per start this year and has a 1.64 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Lohse, who signed a $41MM deal with the Cardinals in 2008, is living up to his contract so far in 2011. Here are today's links...
- Tom Schieffer says he wants to be helpful, not disruptive, when he takes over the Dodgers' day to day operations and finances, according to Quinn Roberts of MLB.com. Earlier today, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt sounded intensely displeased with MLB's involvement in L.A.
- Dontrelle Willis does not have an out clause in his contract with the Reds, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The left-hander has a 1.12 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 24 innings at Triple-A Louisville so far in 2011.
- TCU is set to announce that left-hander Matt Purke has been cleared to return to the mound, according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. That's excellent news for Purke, who was recently shut down with shoulder soreness and evaluated by Dr. James Andrews. Click here for MLBTR's Q&A with Purke.
All of a sudden, the 2011 draft is just six weeks away. Here's the latest on some of the available prospects and one team's approach to the big event:
- Led by projected 2011 first rounders Matt Barnes and George Springer, Connecticut baseball is on the rise, Jim Callis writes in the latest edition of Ask BA. Click here for MLBTR’s Q&A with Springer.
- TCU left-hander Matt Purke, who has been shut down with shoulder soreness, may have to reestablish his value like Anthony Ranaudo did last summer, according to Callis. Click here for MLBTR's Q&A with Purke.
- As Callis explains, South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. may fall to the second half of the first round or the supplementary round. If Bradley falls, it will be because of his spring sruggles and tools, not simply because of his recent wrist injury.
- The Mets are allowing themselves to be greedy with the 13th overall selection this year. Paul DePodesta, the Mets' VP of player development and amateur scouting, told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets don't intend to settle with their top pick. "We want tools, skills, guys who can run and hit for power and defend. We want to be greedy. We want it all. The reality is those guys come off the board awfully quickly."
On this date three years ago, the Blue Jays released Frank Thomas. He retired after a brief return engagment with the Athletics, hitting .301/.419/.555 in a career that should garner Hall of Fame consideration. Here's some links for the evening...
- TCU left-hander Matt Purke is out indefinitely with a sore shoulder according to Stefan Stevenson of The Star-Telegram. He will be evaluated by Dr. James Andrews later this week. Purke, who was expected to be one of the top picks in this June's draft, spoke to MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith last month.
- Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic says (on Twitter) that the Diamondbacks don't have interest in, or room on the roster for Brandon Wood.
- Jeremy Bonderman recently visited his former Tigers' teammates during their trip to Seattle, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck. The right-hander told reporters that he feels "great," and that he plans to visit the Tigers in Detroit in a few weeks. That would seem to indicate he isn't close to signing with a team.
- In a piece for ESPN Insider, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus breaks down some factors that are considered when a prospect is promoted to the big leagues or a higher minor league level.
- ESPN The Magazine published a list of the highest paid athletes from 182 countries. A dozen MLB players make the list, but that comes nowhere close to the number of soccer players making big bucks.
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 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?
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.