[ed. note - "Every Friday morning throughout this season, hopefully, if they'll continue to have me, I'll be writing a post over at MASNSports.com's Nationals Buzz, "... as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest," writers to their site. All opinions expressed are my own... A sample follows... You can read the entire post HERE or through the link included below."]:
A 16-0 freshman season at Texas Christian University in which the left-hander collected 142 strikeouts (10.99 K/9) while giving up 34 walks (2.63 BB/9) in 20 games (18 starts) and 116 1/3 innings only raised Matt Purke's profile and made the decision to go to college instead of signing look like it might result in the pitcher going even higher than 14th when he re-entered the draft in 2011.
The TCU lefty was (5-1) as a sophomore starter with the Horned Frogs in 2010, posting a 1.71 ERA, 20 walks (3.42 BB/9) and 61 strikeouts (10.42 K/9) in 11 starts and 52 2/3 innings in which he held opposing hitters to a .187 batting average. But a shoulder issue limited his time on the mound and scared off potential suitors when he once again became eligible for selection.
• Matt Purke Highlights:
The Nationals' 96th pick in the third round of the 2011 draft was protected, however, so the Nats and GM Mike Rizzo took the former first-round pick knowing that if he failed to sign, they would have the same pick the next June. Purke signed though, and got first-round money, eventually agreeing on a four-year, $4.15 million major league contract. The Nats treated Purke like a top pick, too, introducing the left-hander to reporters in the nation's capital in August 2011 after he signed. Purke said he knew right away he wanted to join the Nats organization, so he let the team do whatever they needed to in order to satisfy any concerns they had about his shoulder.
"They come highly recommended," Purke said of the Nationals. "I've seen the things they've done the last few years with the prospects they've brought in and the major league players as well. This organization is going to be very strong, they're building and they're going to be a serious team to deal with in the years to come. I knew I wanted to be a part of that and hopefully to be a helpful piece in the puzzle."