- Full name David Kent Purcey
- Born 04/22/1982 in St. Charles, IL
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 245 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Oklahoma
- Debut 04/18/2008
Drafted in the 1st round (16th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004 (signed for $1,600,000).
View Draft ReportPurcey came down with draftitis as a high school senior in 2001 and against as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2003. He tried to overthrow at the beginning of last season, then started aiming his pitches and wound up in the bullpen. Though he's a 6-foot-5, 240-pound lefthander with a 90-95 mph fastball, he earned a reputation as a one-pitch pitcher who lacked consistency. Purcey started to shed that tag last summer in the Cape Cod League, causing the Yankees to make a late run at signing him as their 17th-round pick. He turned them down, which will pay off in a big way when he's drafted in the first round this June. Purcey still has the big fastball, and now he can hit both sides of the plate with it. His curveball and overall command are much improved, if still inconsistent. He also has answered questions about his mental toughness by showing first-round stuff every time out this spring. He's a vastly better pitcher in 2004, and Purcey has the best pure arm among lefthanders in the draft.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The 16th overall pick in 2004, Purcey has yet to pay off on the Blue Jays' $1.6 million investment. But after having surgery in June to remove cysts in his forearm and triceps, he threw as well in the Arizona Fall League as he had since turning pro. He had been plagued by minor maladies throughout his career, and Toronto hopes the surgery will help him turn the corner. Purcey is capable of dialing his fastball up to 93-95 mph, but the Blue Jays have toned him down to the low 90s to improve his location. It also prevents him from maxing out on every pitch. He gets such good spin off his fingers that his fastball has serious life down in the zone. Like his fastball, his biting curveball is a plus pitch when he commands it. He's big and works on a tough downhill plane. With inconsistent mechanics affecting his release point, Purcey often finds command elusive. As a result, he often runs up high pitch counts. His changeup is usually below average, and he uses it mostly to keep batters off his fastball. Toronto has toyed with the idea of moving Purcey to the bullpen, where he wouldn't have to worry about efficiency or setting up batters as much. Despite the strong AFL showing, Purcey has made minimal progress the past two seasons. He'll get another crack at Double-A in 2008, and the Blue Jays still believe he'll blossom into a mid-rotation starter or power lefty reliever.
Following a strong spring training, Purcey opened 2006 in Triple-A. He pitched well in April, but shaky command got the best of him in May and he was sent down to Double-A in June. He never got untracked at New Hampshire, so it was mostly a lost season. Few lefthanders can match the raw stuff Purcey possesses. His fastball and biting curveball are plus offerings when he commands them. He likes to dial up his four-seam fastball to 93-95 mph, but achieves more sinking and boring action when he throws his two-seamer at 90-92 mph. He works on a good downhill plane and has made some progress with a slider. Because of his large build and inconsistent release point, Purcey continues to battle his mechanics and to find command elusive. He frequently runs up high pitch counts and backs off once batters string together a few hits. He has made just modest strides with his changeup, which remains a below-average pitch. Purcey's first trip to Triple-A was a false start, and the Blue Jays acknowledge they may have pushed him too fast. Because he's inefficient with his pitches but durable, he might be better suited to relief. Toronto remains optimistic that he's taking a bit longer to harness his power stuff, which they feel is good enough to dominate with even slightly below-average command.
After turning down lucrative offers to turn pro with the Mariners (out of high school) and the Yankees (as a draft-eligible sophomore), Purcey signed with the Blue Jays for $1.6 million as the 16th overall pick in 2004. He started his first full season in high Class A and reached Double- A by the end of July. Purcey's 91-93 mph fastball tops out at 95 and explodes on batters as it arrives at the plate. He also generates awkward swings and misses with his plus 12-to-6 curveball, one of the best in the system. He has the makings of a quality changeup and has good arm speed with the pitch, but it's not as advanced as his other offerings. Command has been by far Purcey's biggest stumbling block, in part because he has difficulty repeating his release point. The Blue Jays are also working with him to improve his pitch efficiency and stamina by not maxing out on every pitch. Purcey is a physical pitcher with power stuff. He won't reach his potential as a No. 2 starter if he doesn't consistently throw strikes. He almost certainly will begin 2006 back in Double-A.
Purcey was selected in the 20th round by the Mariners out of high school, but declined their $1 million offer and headed to Oklahoma. He also turned down the Yankees as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2003, after going in the 17th round and starring in the Cape Cod League. It all paid off when he signed for $1.6 million as the 16th overall selection last June. Purcey has a loose, fluid arm to go with an imposing frame. He shows the makings of three average to plus pitches, and his primary weapon is a lively 90- 95 mph fastball. He also throws two variations of a 75-79 mph curveball that's becoming an above-average pitch. One is a 12-to-6 hammer, while the other is more of a slurve. His changeup grades as solid-average. Purcey's inconsistent mechanics need to be cleaned up to improve his pitch quality and command. He tends to get under his fastball and get on the side of his curveball, costing him movement on both pitches. He didn't pitch well in his two previous draft years, causing some scouts to question his mental toughness. The Jays hope to push Purcey quickly through the system. He'll begin 2005 in high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Offseason surgery to remove cysts from his forearm and triceps seems to have revitalized Purcey's career. The 2004 first-round pick put everything together in his fifth pro season to lead all Triple-A hurlers with a 2.69 ERA. He also ranked second with 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings and fourth with a .227 opponent average. The ball always has come out of Purcey's hand well, and when he's at his best it looks like he's playing catch with the catcher at 90-94 mph with good movement. He can hit 95 mph consistently in short stints, and he throws everything on a steep downward plane. He changes eye levels with his strong, 76-78 mph curveball, though his changeup is less refined and he has below-average feel for the pitch. Purcey started throwing a slower slider more this season to give batters a different look. He showed more maturity and better poise than he had in the past.
Purcey didn't have as much success at Dunedin as teammates Zach Jackson or Casey Janssen, but he has a higher ceiling because he's a big lefthander with power stuff. Purcey has a loose arm with excellent arm speed, allowing him to bust hitters with a 91-95 mph fastball and a slightly above-average 12-6 curveball. His changeup isn't up to those standards, but it shows promise of becoming an average offering. Purcey's 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame gives him the ability to soak up innings while allowing him to get good extension from his three-quarters arm slot. His shortcoming is his command, which wavers at times. He struggled to hit spots and sometimes his mechanics broke down.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the International League in 2008
- Rated Best Fastball in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008
- Rated Best Curveball in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2005