Photo: TCU

50 in 50: Matt Purke

Draft : : Top Prospects
Patrick Ebert        
Published: Thursday, May 19, 2011

Matt Purke
LHP / TCU

Bats-Throws:
L-L
Height/Weight: 6-4/180
Hometown: Spring, Texas
Previously Drafted: Rangers '09 (1, 14th overall)
Birthdate: July 17, 1990

SCOUTING PROFILE:
TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle knew it was unlikely that his prized 2008-09 recruit, Matt Purke, would ever make it on campus. Purke was one of the top prospects available for the 2009 draft, with the potential to be selected among the top three to five overall picks. Signability concerns caused him to drop to the 14th pick and the Texas Rangers, who thought they had an agreement to sign the talented young lefty to a $6 million bonus. Major League Baseball, who was overseeing the organization's finances due to then owner Tom Hicks' financial difficulties, nixed the deal, thus sending Purke off to college. It didn't take Purke long to assume the Friday ace role for the Horned Frogs, who enjoyed the best year in the program's history. Purke was named to just about every All-America team imaginable, with several publications naming him the National Freshman of the Year. He went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA and an impressive 142 to 34 strikeout to walk ratio over 116.1 innings of work. This year has been a different story however, as Purke missed time early with a blister problem and has been shut down since mid-April due to shoulder fatigue. He recently threw a promising bullpen, and is expected to return to the mound today (Thursday, May 19) against New Mexico. There were already some concerns from scouts about Purke's delivery, as he throws from a low three-quarters release with some effort across his body. He also employs an upside-down takeaway, in which that delivery creates the “inverted W” that is typically frowned upon. His velocity hasn't been quite the same this year, with some low-90s heat in the first inning or two in games, quickly falling to the upper-80s as opposed to a sustained 92-94 mph fastball in 2010. Purke's fastball has some late life, and that pitch, along with his nasty slider that bores in hard on right-handed batters with his crossfire delivery, have been his two go-to pitches. His slider can sit in the low-80s at its best, and he can also take a little off of the pitch to throw more of a true curveball. He also throws a changeup. Purke's best attribute may be his competitive spirit on the mound. He pitches with complete confidence, attacking hitters with his repertoire while moving the ball around the zone with a propensity for inducing weak groundballs. Given his reduced velocity this season, unless he throws much better between now and the draft, it's uncertain where he will go, particularly if his lofty $6 million price-tag remains. Originally expected to be one of the top picks in this year's draft as a draft-eligible sophomore, it would not be surprising to see him return for his junior year with Schlossnagle and TCU.

Projected Draft Position:
Impossible to determine.

Perfect Game Events Attended:
    2008 National Showcase
    2008 Aflac All American HS Baseball Game


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