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The Nationals gambled in drafting TCU left-hander Matt Purke in the third round.
The other news from yesterday, of course, was the second day of the amateur draft, with 29 rounds completed. The Nationals didn't own a second-round pick (they lost that one to the Phillies after signing Jayson Werth as a free agent) but they did make a splash with their third-round pick: Matt Purke.
Purke, a left-hander from TCU, was widely considered a potential top-5 pick (maybe even the top pick in the nation) before this season began. But like first-round selection Anthony Rendon, a shoulder injury limited the pitcher's appearances and raised question marks for scouts and executives across baseball.
Purke went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 116 innings his freshman year, leading the Horned Frogs to the College World Series. But he was limited to only 11 starts this year, though he did perform well when on the mound (5-1, 1.71 ERA, 61 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings).
Whether the Texas native is willing to sign with the Nationals now -- and whether the Nats are willing to offer him first-round money -- remains to be seen. He could choose to go back to school for his junior season, hoping to regain his top form and make himself a possible No. 1 pick in 2012. Or he could sign this summer and try to ascend his way through Washington's farm system.
"The Nationals are an up-and-coming organization and they are doing a lot of good things," Purke said in a statement released by TCU. "I am excited to do business with them. It's always a good thing to be drafted and there's never a bad day when you are selected."
As for the rest of the Day 2 selections, it's pretty clear what the Nationals were most interested in acquiring: college pitchers. Seventeen of their 31 picks so far have been college hurlers, including eight of their first 11 picks.
Fourth-rounder Kylin Turnbull, from Santa Barbara Community College, is a 6-foot-4 left-hander with a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s who also throws a splitter (unusual for a lefty). Seventh-round pick Bryan Dupra had a strong senior year at Notre Dame.
The only position player the Nationals selected between rounds 3-10 was Georgia Tech third baseman Matt Skole, who carries some baggage. Skole has power (47 homers over three seasons) but he was arrested for DUI in February and twice was suspended by Georgia Tech for violating team rules.
Three late-round picks of particular note: The Nationals drafted two locals in Georgetown catcher Erick Fernandez (25th round) and George Washington left-hander Bobby Lucas (27th round). They also took a left-hander from the University of South Carolina named Bryan Harper in the 30th round. You may know him better as Bryce Harper's older brother.
Here's the full list of all Nationals draft picks to date...
Rd Player Pos School
1 Anthony Rendon 3B Rice
1 Alex Meyer RHP Kentucky
S Brian Goodwin OF Miami Dade College
3 Matt Purke LHP Texas Christian
4 Kylin Turnbull LHP Santa Barbara CC
5 Matt Skole 3B Georgia Tech
6 Taylor Hill RHP Vanderbilt
7 Brian Dupra RHP Notre Dame
8 Greg Holt RHP North Carolina
9 Dixon Anderson RHP Cal-Berkeley
10 Manny Rodriguez RHP Barry University
11 Caleb Ramsey OF Houston
12 Blake Monar LHP Indiana
13 Blake Kalenkosky 1B Texas State
14 Cody Stubbs OF Walters State CC
15 Zach Houchins SS Louisburg JC
16 Deion Williams SS Redan (Ga.) HS
17 Esteban Guzman RHP San Jose State
18 Nicholas Lee LHP Weatherford College
19 Hawtin Buchannan RHP Biloxi (Miss.) HS
20 Josh Laxer RHP Madison (Miss.) Central HS
21 Todd Simko LHP Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
22 Travis Henke RHP Arkansas-Little Rock
23 Khayyan Norfork 2B Tennessee
24 Kyle Ottoson LHP Arizona State
25 Erick Fernandez C Georgetown
26 Shawn Pleffner OF Univ. of Tampa
27 Bobby Lucas LHP George Washington
28 Kenneth Ferrer RHP Elon University
29 Sean Cotton C Tusculum College
30 Bryan Harper LHP South Carolina