The Washington Nationals announced a third round of cuts this morning, optioning or reassigning six players that were in camp with the major league team:
Michael Taylor, 22, is an '09 6th Round pick out of Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Taylor spent the 2013 campaign at High-A Potomac where the outfielder put up a .263/.341/.428 line in 132 games and 577 plate appearances in what was his fourth season in the Nats' system.
Taylor was added to the 40-Man Roster this past winter, protecting him from selection in the Rule 5 Draft. He was ranked 7th overall on Baseball America's Top 10 last November, behind only Brian Goodwin amongst outfielders in the organization. New Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters this spring that Taylor's defense makes him a unique talent.
"He is, I think, really unique in that he is a -- if you were putting scouting numbers on him, he is an 80 defender," Williams said. "He throws very well. He's in the process of learning himself and his own swing and he would be a guy that is potentially on the fast track."
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Taylor will, as noted above, start the 2014 season in Double-A Harrisburg.
Matt Purke, 23, will make the jump to Double-A as well after returning from shoulder surgery last summer to pitch at Low-A Hagerstown where he was (1-1) with 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 IP for the Suns before he moved up to High-A Potomac, where he was (5-3) in six starts, with a 4.43 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 18 walks (2.66 BB/9) and 41 Ks (6.05 K/9) in 61 IP.
The 6'4'' lefty signed a major league deal with the Nationals after they selected him with the 96th overall pick in the 3rd Round of the 2011 Draft, two years after he went 14th overall to the Texas Rangers but failed to sign. Purke told reporters at the Nats' Spring Training facilities this morning, that the Nationals wanted him to build up his innings and prepare for the start of the 2014 campaign:
#Nats Matt Purke--"they want me to get stretched out and get my innings in. We got two weeks left and its time to prepare and get ready."— Craig Heist (@cheistsports) March 13, 2014
In addition to the two moves involving players on the 40-Man Roster, non-roster invitees RHPs Clay Hensley, Josh Roenicke and Daniel Stange and LHP Danny Rosenbaum were assigned to minor league camp. Today's moves leave the Nationals with 49 players in major league camp.