- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
Nationals stay aggressive, get pitcher Purke in third round
TCU star coming off shoulder injury
SAN FRANCISCO — On the first day of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, the Washington Nationals sent a message for their strategy this year: We’re not afraid to take a risk.
They did as much selecting third baseman Anthony Rendon from Rice University with their No. 6 overall pick - taking a player once projected to go No. 1 overall and overlooking two recent ankle surgeries and a junior season hampered by a shoulder strain.
They reinforced that message again Tuesday when they took Matt Purke out of Texas Christian University with their third-round pick, No. 96 overall.
The left-hander, like Rendon, was once tabbed as a possible No. 1 but dropped because of an injury history and signability issues.
“We took the most impactful player we could with each pick,” general manager Mike Rizzo said Monday night after the Nationals had taken Rendon, followed by right-hander Alex Meyer at No. 23 and outfielder Brian Goodwin at No. 34.
They added to that haul Tuesday by selecting Purke, who was Texas’ first-round pick out of high school in 2009 but did not sign after his reported $6 million bonus was vetoed by MLB because of the Rangers’ unstable financial situation at the time. Purke spurned the $4 million offer that followed.
He was projected as a 2011 first-rounder, if not the first overall pick, after his 16-0, 3.02 ERA and 142-strikeout performance as a freshman last year. His repertoire included a mid-90s fastball, a curve, a slider and a change-up.
But shoulder bursitis — which reportedly began as a blister — led to a drastic drop in his velocity; he routinely was clocked in the mid- to- high 80s this season.
Nonetheless, the Nationals continued to be aggressive with the draft — following the precedent they set in 2010 by drafting pitchers A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray in late rounds and signing them to well above-slot bonuses.
“The Nationals are obviously an organization on the rise,” Meyer said on a conference call Tuesday. “It’s an exciting moment for the organization and even more for me. Playing with [Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann] those guys, I don’t know how it can get much better than that.”
Speaking of college pitchers, the Nationals added another with family ties to the organization by picking South Carolina lefty Bryan Harper, Bryce’s older brother, in the 30th round.
In Rendon and Purkethe Nationals not only selected two top talents, but also kindred spirits and former teammates from high school summer league in Texas. Both also know what it’s like to see their draft stock tumble because of injury.
“Leading up to it, people said this and that, writers were saying I’d go one, two, three, five, whatever - I didn’t let that get to me,” Rendon said. “I didn’t really want to pay attention to it because they’re not the organization. You really can’t pay attention to those things because they don’t know what’s going on inside, but when my name was called it was a relief. Thousands of kids probably wish that they were in my shoes right now.”
“We went on a road trip together,” he said. “We traveled to Louisiana for a tournament in high school, and he pitched his guts out. He’s a great pitcher and a great guy.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Young and healthy millennials create risky imbalance by shunning Obamacare
- Obama: Growing income inequality 'defining challenge' of this generation
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.