Draft news: Matt Purke shut down
It’s been fairly widely reported that 2011 Draft prospect and LHP Matt Purke has been shut down with shoulder
soreness and will be examined by Dr. James Andrews today. You can read the note in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram right here.
The Draft-eligible sophomore was a first-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2009 (No. 14 overall), but turned down a sizable bonus to go to Texas Christian University, knowing he’d be eligible again in two years. As a freshman, Purke went 16-0 for the Horned Frogs, with a 3.02 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 116 1/3 innings. That led many to think he’d be among the top picks in this June’s Draft, perhaps the top college lefty in the class.
While his numbers this season — 4-1, 1.55 ERA, 47 K’s in 40 2/3 IP — certainly aren’t bad, scouts who know Purke well had felt that he wasn’t quite as sharp as he was a year ago. Even before news of this shoulder issue came out, Purke’s draft stock had been slipping a bit. He began the season late, with a blister keeping him from getting going initially. He began pitching on Sundays, then moved up to Saturday, with TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle evidently preferring to keep an effective Kyle Winkler as his Friday starter.
While some felt something wasn’t quite right with him all season — could he have been pitching hurt all year? — it really was evident he wasn’t himself on Saturday at San Diego State. Purke went just four innings before being removed from the game and reports from scouts were that the southpaw’s velocity had dropped drastically, down to 84-86 mph. A scout in attendance said he was at around 91-92 mph the first two innings, then didn’t throw one over 87 mph after that and clearly seemed to be laboring. Keep in mind that Purke came out of high school two years ago sitting 92-93 mph and topping out at 95 mph, so it was obvious something was amiss.
We’ll see what Dr. Andrews has to say. Schlossnagle said he hoped he might be back for conference tournament action (May 24-28), but there’s no question his Draft stock will continue to fall unless he can come back and show he’s completely healthy. But with the concern about shoulder injuries, it might be very difficult for Purke to get back to anyplace close to where some saw him before the 2011 season began.