I’ll freely admit it: after two straight injury plagued seasons, I thought the Nats had made a mistake with the Matthew Purke pick. I’ve even used the “B” word from time to time (“B” as in “Bust”). Yes he was “only” a third round pick, and yes it isn’t my money that paid him. But giving him a Major League Deal and a 40-man slot was a roster limiting move at the time and still remains so (Purke was the sole 40-man roster member in the South Atlantic League at the season’s start).
However, what Purke is doing so far in Hagerstown has been, well, impressive. His latest start on 6/28 probably was his most dominant of the year, going 6 innings, giving up just 1 hit and zero walks while striking out 8. On the year in Low-A he now has 6 starts, has thrown 29 innings and has 41 strikeouts to just 7 walks in that time. Those numbers are good for a 2.48 ERA and a 1.10 whip.
Yes, he’s “old” for the level (at the season’s start he was about in the 75% percentile in terms of age for the level). And yes he’s “experienced” for the level, being now a third year pro and having two college years under his belt when drafted. But (as we all know) he’s been plagued with injuries and has now missed parts of four straight seasons with various ailments (his 2nd college season, his draft year, most of 2012). In fact, June 28th was just his 9th professional start.
Nonetheless, its great to see him finally healthy and finally putting together the kind of dominant starts that one would expect from a guy who signed a $4M deal. I look forward to him getting promoted up to High-A (perhaps after the all-star break) and continuing his trek back to the majors. If the Nats could count on him to continue being a high-end prospect and a potential future starter for this team, that would go a long way towards roster stability in the coming years.