Back in 2011, the Washington Nationals "attacked" the draft with aggressive selections and big spending, knowing that things were about to change. Nats' GM Mike Rizzo explained their approach in the previous years before the 2012 Draft.
"The plan three years ago was to attack the draft before the new CBA," Rizzo said.
"That was our focus, that was our vision, that was our strategy going into it three years ago and we did it, we attacked it for the last three years and I don't think you'll see a draft class like last year's because of the new CBA rules."
Texas Christian University left-hander Matt Purke was part of the Nationals' 2011 Draft class.
Purke, a 2009 1st Round pick by the Rangers (14th overall), who failed to agree on a deal with Texas and instead attended college where he went (16-0) as a freshman, striking out 142 Ks (10.99 K/9) and walking just 34 BB (2.63 BB/9) in 20 games, 18 starts and 116 ⅓ IP, was coming off a sophomore year with the Horned Frogs in which he dealt with a shoulder issue which limited him to just 11 starts and 52 ⅔ IP over which he was (5-1) with a 1.71 ERA, .187 BAA, 61 Ks (10.42 K/9) and 20 walks (3.42 BB/9).
The Nationals signed the lefty to a 4-year/$4.15M major league deal after selecting him in the 3rd Round in 2011, with the 96th overall pick.
"They come highly recommended," Purke told reporters when he was introduced to the D.C. press corps that summer.
"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."
After a brief run in the Arizona Fall League and three starts with the Low-A Hagerstown Suns in 2012, Purke underwent surgery on his shoulder in November of that year then returned to the mound in 2013, making 18 starts between Hagerstown and High-A Potomac in which he went (6-4) with a 3.80 ERA, 25 walks (2.50 BB/9) and 82 Ks (8.20 K/9) in 90 IP.
Purke returned to the AFL in 2013 and started the 2014 campaign at Double-A Harrisburg, but after he went (1-6) in eight starts with a 8.04 ERA, 18 walks (5.17 BB/9) and 22 Ks (6.32 K/9) in 31 ⅓ the southpaw was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Purke underwent Tommy John surgery in May.
This morning, the Nationals' Transactions page was updated to note that they released Purke.