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Solis, Purke standing out in Arizona Fall League

Oct 22, 2013, 5:11 PM EST


A new wave of young Nats pitching prospects is on display in the Arizona Fall League, and the early returns from two players in particular are very good.

Sammy Solis and Matt Purke, both left-handers drafted recently by the Nats, are off to strong starts with the Mesa Solar Sox. Solis is 3-0 through three starts with a 1.42 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings pitched. Purke has pitched twice and is also undefeated at 2-0, with no runs allowed through seven total innings. He has nine strikeouts.

The early results for Solis and Purke have to be encouraging for the Nats who last season had a dearth of left-handed pitching prospects in their system. Solis and Purke have always been highly regarded, but major surgeries have delayed their development since they were drafted.

Solis, a second round pick in 2010, had Tommy John surgery last March. He pitched most of the 2013 minor league season with the Potomac Nationals, going 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA in 13 Single-A games.

Purke was taken in the third round of the 2011 draft by the Nats out of TCU and has dealt with shoulder issues ever since. He pitched with Hagerstown and Potomac this season with mixed success, going 6-4 with a 3.80 ERA in 18 starts across both affiliates.

The AFL is a valuable testing ground for top prospects as many of the game’s best young minor leaguers participate each year. Solis and Purke have been excellent so far and makes them two names to watch for 2014, potentially for late season call-ups if they pitch well in the minors.

Their performance in the AFL could also book them trips to Double-A Harrisburg to start next season. Solis is 25 years old and Purke is 22, it might be time to see how close they really are.

  1. Doc - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Good to have some new news on the site!

    Goooooo Baby Nats!!!

  2. Theophilus T.S. - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Someone quoted Keith Law as reporting Purke is nothing special, 89-90 mph, etc. Anyone know what that dates from? Is there anyone who has reported on anything from AZ except the box scores?

    • pdowdy83 - Oct 23, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      I think that may have been from earlier in the season or even pre shoulder surgery. I saw multiple reports from his time in Potomac that he was hitting 95 again. Sitting around 92-93. I haven’t seen any velocity reports from the AFL but has short write ups on every game for more information. Keith Law also tends to be negative to people coming off injury and playing at levels too low for their age.

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 22, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Will Solis eventually be a reliever at big league stage or a starter? His WHIP is nothing special and that is not above A+ level. I think if his future is relieving, might put him in big league bullpen next season and see what happens.

    • David Proctor - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:23 PM

      He’s considered a starter and the Nats are going forward as if he’ll start. I could see them putting him into the bullpen and seeing how he does. The Cardinals put a lot of their young arms in the pen and then if they do well, move them into the rotation. I could see us doing that.

    • Section 222 - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      Rizzo doesn’t just put people in the bullpen to see what happens, especially if they have options. Look at last year, when Abad, Krol, Davis, and Roark spent most of the year in the minors before they made it to the bigs. Nor is he wild about bringing up potential starters to be relievers. Karns and Jordan didn’t pitch in relief. And Roark did only until they could give him spot starts. The majors are not a place to experiment, especially when your’e on a team that’s supposed to contend.

      I don’t expect to see either Solis or Purke in the bigs next season.

      • David Proctor - Oct 23, 2013 at 12:01 AM

        The Cardinals disagree with most of what you say. Although you are correct that Rizzo doesn’t seem to like following that approach.

    • pdowdy83 - Oct 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      You have to keep in mind the control issues that typically come with rehabbing TJers. Solis had TJ surgery in March of 2012 so this was essentially his “rehab” year. His walk rate is also hurt by walking 5 batters in his first 5 innings. He went back on the DL for awhile and after that trip to the DL he lowered his WHIP to 1.25. That is also where his WHIP stands in the AFL thus far against some of the top hitting prospects in the game. I would say there is zero chance Solis ends up a reliever this season. If his command is worse next season maybe they start thinking about it for 2015 but given the fact that he was a pretty high 2nd round pick and that he has had a major surgery I think the Nationals will want to see him go through a full season as a starter.

      Not sure why anyone would be in a rush to stick him in the big league bullpen right now either. He is far more valuable to the franchise as a starter. There are several left handed relief options on the market and the team has a handful of in house candidates to fill 1 spot already. I would be more interested in Detwiler as a reliever because his body doesn’t seem to be able hold up under a full season of starting. I would be all for the nats signing a free agent starter, using Jordan/Roark as the 5th starter and putting Det back in the pen.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    Lincecum’s deal probably puts my Ubaldo-as-4th-starter dream to rest.

    • shawndc04 - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      Sigh. I had the same thought if Mike decided to go outside the organization for another starter. With the Lincecum deal Ubaldo will be laughing all the way to the bank. Bronson Arroyo, anyone?

    • tcostant - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Zimmermann’s 2014 salary just went up, way up, because of this deal. I think Finley might have been right, why should I have to pay my players as much as my supidiest rival, but that’s arbritation.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        TL was a FA I believe, JZ is not. His arbitration salary cannot exceed too much, there is a limit to how much he can ask I believe.





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