SAN FRANCISCO - We're back at it on Day 2 of the First-Year Player Draft, and the Nationals are back to painting with bold strokes.
They took TCU left-hander Matt Purke, who went with the 14th pick in the 2009 draft, only to head back to college after Major League Baseball took over the Texas Rangers and vetoed the $6 million contract the team had agreed to with Purke. The deal was well over his draft slot, so when the package became $4 million, he went back to school. He was at the top of draft boards this spring, only to get shut down with shoulder bursitis in April. That caused him to slip all the way to the Nationals with the 96th pick.
He's no sure thing, but the Nationals haven't been playing it safe in this draft. He was throwing in the mid-90s before shoulder issues, and has two solid breaking balls to go with his fastball. The Nationals are taking a risk, but they're again hoping in the long-term, Purke can hit his ceiling.