Hagerstown Suns' lefty Matt Purke's last start against the Lexington Legends, in which he gave up just one hit while striking out eight in six scoreless innings, left the 22-year-old 2011 3rd Round pick with a (1-1) record, a 2.48 ERA, a 2.54 FIP, seven walks (2.17 BB/9) and 41 Ks (12.72 K/9) in six starts and 29.0 IP in which he's allowed three home runs (0.93 HR/9). Purke's seventh start of the year will apparently take place in a Potomac Nationals uniform as the Suns announced today that the left-hander has been promoted to the Nats' High-A affliate:
In an interview on 106.7 the FAN before Purke made his first start of 2013 for the Suns, Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told hosts Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier that if the left-handed prospect ranked the Nats' 9th best prospect by Baseball America this winter, could stay healthy, he could move quickly through the organization. "He just got moved from his rehab to Hagerstown," Rizzo said, "so he'll be competing at that level, get five or six starts under his belt and probably be moved to a higher level." Apparently Purke's on track with the plan the Nationals had in place for him.
His development was, of course, stalled by the same shoulder issues which caused the one-time 1st Round pick (Texas, 2009) to fall to Washington in the 3rd Round of the 2011 Draft. The Nationals gave Purke a four-year, $4.15 million major league contract to get him to sign, though he told reporters at his introductory press conference that he knew the Nats were the right fit for him and didn't intend on returning to college.
"Once everything had started here," Purke explained at the time, "and I'd gotten up here and gotten a feel for this organization I knew that this was a good fit for me and the right situation that I was looking for. And so I knew I was ready to play and move on, and I was thankful enough to get the opportunity."
Purke made several starts last season, but eventually had to have surgery to clear up the damage in his left shoulder and remove bursa sacs which were causing the issue. After a late start to his 2013 campaign, Purke's on his way up.
• Matt Purke Highlights: