Pitching always seems to top the wish list of the Texas Rangers each June in the first-year player draft.
It’s no big surprise, then, that with the 14th overall selection in the 2009 first player draft, the Texas Rangers selected Matt Purke.
Purke is a left-handed pitcher out of Klein High School in Spring, just outside of Houston.
A tall, skinny guy, Purke is 6 feet 3 inches and 180 pounds. He throws a hard fastball, sitting in the low to mid-90s with sweeping action to the arm side.
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Purke complements his fastball with a hard slider, widely considered to be one of the best in this year’s draft. He is said to have a solid changeup as well, though not yet Major League ready.
Purke has plus command and moves the ball well around the zone.
As far as lefties in the draft, Purke was an obvious choice for Texas, who have a cache of strong right arms at the moment, and something of a shortage on southpaws. He was mentioned in the same breath as Tyler Matzek, who most consider to be the best lefty in the 2009 class.
On the relatively short list of concerns for Texas will be Purke’s size, as he is skinnier than one would hope, precipitating a fair amount of questions surrounding his durability.
However, it is doubtful that this will be a concern for long (if he signs, that is), with Nolan Ryan running the show in Texas.
Considering the Rangers’ needs, the fact that Purke slid to Texas comes as something of a blessing.
Texas will continue to look for pitching throughout the draft, as well as some power bats for the farm system; however, they have employed a strict ‘best athlete available’ approach to the draft of recent, and there’s no reason to think 2009 will be any different.