Matthew Taylor Purke
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 4", Weight 205 lb.
- School Texas Christian University
- High School Klein High School
- Debut May 20, 2016
- Final Game June 29, 2016
- Born July 17, 1990 in Nacogdoches, TX USA
In the 2008 World Junior Championship, Purke pitched for the Silver Medal-winning Team USA. He fanned 11 and walked none in a shutout of Mexico, but surrendered six runs in five innings against South Korea in the finals to take the loss. Purke was 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in the event, the highest ERA for the US; he struck out 18 in 13 innings. He was named to the tournament All-Star team as the left-handed pitcher, one of four Americans selected.
Owner of a 97 mph fastball and a consensus top-15 draft pick in all pre-draft reports, Matt was the 14th pick of the 2009 amateur draft, taken by the Texas Rangers. Purke did not sign with the Rangers though, instead opting to attend Texas Christian University. It was later revealed that Purke and the Rangers had agreed on a $6 million signing bonus prior to the draft; however, between the agreement and the draft, the Rangers went into bankruptcy as a result of owner Tom Hicks's profligate spending, and Major League Baseball assumed oversight of the club's finances. MLB was unwilling to approve of a deal so far over the recommended slot bonus, forcing the Rangers to scale back their offer to $4 million - conditional on MLB approval, which was far from given. Purke decided to turn down the deal with a chance to reenter the draft after his sophomore season in 2011. However, things went badly for the pitching prospect, as he was sidelined with shoulder tendinitis early in 2011, then had to be examined by Dr. James Andrews and was shut down for the season, putting a huge red flag next to his name a few weeks before the draft.