Callis has the Cardinals taking Matt Purke in his latest and last mock draft. Last year he accurately predicted the Cardinals taking Brett Wallace, a notion I internally dismissed. Callis admits to his pick for the Cardinals as random guesswork.
One potential destination for one of the high-ceiling high school arms is St. Louis, who are particularly high on Matt Purke.
And we also have Kevin Goldstein, in his latest mock putting the Cardinals down for Purke, confirming the wild rumor out there -
…the crazy whispers involve them acting like the big-market team they technically are and making a splash with a signability pick. Matt Purke can’t drop forever… or can he?
So I think it’s time to seriously think about Matt Purke.
Here’s some scouting info on the projectable Texas lefty.
Purke rivals Tyler Matzek as the best lefthanded pitching prospect in this draft. He already throws a 92-95 mph fastball and could throw harder as he adds strength to his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. He backs up his heater with a hard slider that ranks among the best in the prep draft class. He doesn’t have much experience throwing a changeup because he hasn’t needed one. Last summer, Purke needed just nine pitches to work a perfect inning at the Aflac All-American Game and started the gold-medal game for Team USA at the World Junior Championship in Canada (albeit taking a 7-0 loss against Korea). Matzek has moved ahead of Purke for most clubs because he works with less effort. Purke throws from a low three-quarters angle that adds life and deception, but he has slinging action in his delivery. It’s not violent, but it’s not smooth either.
Here’s a link to his draft report on MLB.com.
When conversations arise about the top prep lefties in the class, Purke is on the short list. With three excellent offerings and command of them, to go along with a projectable frame, Purke’s name comes up early and often. There might be a small concern about his durabilty because he’s a little too slender, but that won’t be enough to keep him from being taken high up on Draft day.
Alex Eisenberg also gave a good review of Purke, but noted some of my concerns with his mechanics.
Some positives and negatives with Purke mechanically….his arm action is very loose and whip-like — very tension free. He breaks his hands late, which speeds up his arm as it tries to catch up with the rest of his body. A late hand break can benefit a pitcher’s velocity and make it tougher to pick up the ball out of his hand.
The tradeoff to that deception and extra arm speed is that it might add a little more stress to the shoulder. In addition, Purke doesn’t incorporate his lower body all that much into his delivery, forcing his arm to do much of the work. Pitchers who have a busier lower body also tend to have their breaking stuff play-up because hitters react to that lower body movement and gear up for something hard.
With that said, Purke’s delivery is simple and repeatable. He also has sound front-side mechanics that will help limit the pounding his shoulder takes.
Here’s an excellent video of him pitching, with some slow-mos of his mechanics.
I’ll leave the rest of my qualms to myself for now and see what they actually do with the pick. For those you banging the gong for a high-upside, high school starter, this could be your day. I wouldn’t get your hopes up, with Purke said to be seeking a “Porcello-like” contract, and coupled with the fact that he’s not quite in Porcello’s class makes me wonder how serious the Cardinals really are.