"What prospect are you most looking forward to following [in 2013]?" That's the fifth question the District Sports Page's Dave Nichols asked the group of writers covering the Washington Nationals who participated in a recent virtual roundtable we've featured here for the last week. I'm definitely interested to watch some Harrisburg Senators' baseball on MiLB.tv this season (and hopefully in person] and I explained why in my response to the fifth of seven questions I answered for the discussion. "I'm really interested to watch the Matt Purke story play out. The left-hander was a 1st Round talent the Nationals took a big gamble on, giving him 1st Round money after taking him in the 3rd Round in 2011 following an injury-plagued sophomore season in college. The Nats saw him then as a quick-to-the-majors-type arm and for the first time this season he'll be healthy. He finally had surgery on his shoulder last year and he'll be pitching without pain (hopefully) for the first time in two-three years.
"The thing that really caught my attention this week was Davey Johnson saying that Purke was likely to start the season at Double-A. He's 22, had two strong seasons at TCU, putting up great numbers even when dealing with shoulder issues in his second year and he's made just three starts at Low-A Hagerstown in the Nats' system, but they're planning on starting him at Harrisburg? That would seem to mean they still have high hopes for and a high opinion of him. [ed. note - "I should have added 'if that's accurate,' here in case Purke doesn't indeed start with the Sens.'"]
"Purke is part of the next wave of arms coming up along with Sammy Solis and Nathan Karns, and they'll all likely be in Double-A along with Anthony Rendon, Matt Skole, Rick Hague and others who should give the Senators a strong defensive infield behind their top pitching prospects. I really want to see how quickly Purke adapts to the challenge of pitching against Double-A competition and get a good idea of just how good he really is now that he's healthy."
• That's my answer. Which prospect, prospects or affiliate will you be following closest? Check out the answers the other writers gave below...
The District Sports Page's Dave Nichols organized this roundtable discussion with local writers covering the Nationals, inviting us all to discuss issues facing the defending NL East Champs heading into the 2013 campaign. Here are the people who participated:
- Dave Nichols - Editor-in-Chief, District Sports Page
- Alyssa Wolice - Staff Writer, District Sports Page
- Ted Starkey - Contributor to DSP, author and Editor at SBNation.com
- Ryan Kelley - DSP Prospects Writer and founder of BaseballNewshound.com
- Tom Bridge - Editor, We Love D.C.
- Joe Drugan - Managing Editor, The Nats Blog
If you're on the Twitter and aren't already following the folks listed above, you should be. Dave Nichols' Nationals coverage can be found at @NationalsDSP. The DSP's Alyssa Wolice is at @AWolice. The DSP and SB Nation's Ted Starkey can be located at @TedStarkey. Ryan Kelley can be found at @BBNewsHound. Tom Bridge and We Love DC's sports coverage can be found @WeLoveDCSports. And Joe Drugan posts on Twitter at @TheNatsBlogJoe.
• Check out what the other writers had to say about the prospect they'll be watching closest this season:
World Series or Bust--DSP's 2013 #Nats Roundtable Part V: Prospect Watch districtsportspage.com/world-series-o…— District Sports Nats (@NationalsDSP) March 27, 2013