Originally posted on The Nats Blog old  |  Last updated 3/12/12

The Nationals decided this afternoon to give two of their top prospects in big league camp a chance to get acclimated with the team’s minor league program as they optioned starting pitcher Matt Purke and infielder Anthony Rendon. The team also removed seven other players from their spring roster, including Corey Brown, Jarrett Hoffpauir, and Sandy Leon.

Bryce Harper, Washington's overall top prospect, will continue to stay with the team as he works to come back from a lower leg injury.

Purke, the Nats' third round draft pick in 2011, ended his first spring stint on a high note, earning the victory in today’s 8-3 decision over the St. Louis Cardinals. The 21-year-old allowed just one hit in 1.1 innings of work against the defending World Champions. In total Purke, a rising star out of Texas Christian University, gave up five hits and one earned run in 3.1 innings pitched with Washington this spring.

All reports indicate that the left-hander looked to be nearly fully recovered from an arm issue that watered down his draft stock last season. Many initially felt after his dominant freshman performance in 2010 that Purke would be a lock to be selected in the first round in 2011, but a lingering arm injury sapped his velocity. The Nats took a chance on his tremendous upside when they drafted him in the third round, hoping that Purke would look more like the hurler who went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 2010, than the shell of his former self that only mustered 52.2 innings pitched in 2011.

Rendon, on the other hand, did not get a chance to play today in his last stint with the big league team, but did get a solid eight game look at various different positions across the infield this spring. The numbers don’t tell the story for Rendon (.231/.286/.462 in 13 at bats), who managed to impress the team’s front office with not only his quick bat and polished skills but also his high level of poise. He simply looked comfortable being in big-league camp, and seemed perfectly in place against big-league pitchers.

Both Rendon and Purke were re-assigned to Single-A Potomac where they will begin the 2012 season. From there, their paths to the majors will begin to diverge. Nats GM Mike Rizzo is likely to be very patient and cautious with Purke. His upside projects him to be a No. 1 or No. 2 at the major league level if everything goes right, but he needs to fully recover and learn how to pitch against professional hitting before Rizzo will be willing to throw him into the mix in Washington. Look for him to get at least four or five starts at each level before reaching Triple-A. 

Rendon, on the other hand, is quite possibly the most talented and polished hitter selected by any team in the 2011 draft. We will likely see a path very similar to the one that Stephen Strasburg took in 2010 for Rendon, one that will see him make brief stops and test him at all levels. If everything goes well for Rendon, he will make his way to Triple-A by late May, and be knocking on the door to Washington by July.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brandon Brooks accepts wedding invite from Eagles fan

Report: Josh Gordon expected to get reinstatement update in May

Landon Donovan retires from soccer again, this time for good

No discipline for Crosby for slashing off Methot’s fingertip

Jim Harbaugh ditches signature cheap khakis

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Magic to skip Shaq statue unveiling to scout tourney game

Report: NFL scout says Adrian Peterson ‘a glorified fullback’

Kristi Yamaguchi wasn't throwing shade at Nancy Kerrigan with tweet

Rodgers: Packers fans ‘should be really excited’ about season

Ball brothers’ H.S. coach details how hard LaVar Ball is to work with

Philip Rivers shares thoughts on Chargers possibly drafting QB

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down college basketball's Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down college basketball's Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker