Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Saga of David Price

Vanderbilt Pitching Record: 22-10, 3.23 ERA, 313 IP, 238H, 441K
2008 Minor League Record: 12-1, 2.30 ERA, 109.2 IP, 92H, 109K
2008 Major League Record: 0-0, 1.93 ERA, 14.0 IP, 9H, 12K (doesn't include postseason)

By now everyone knows that David Price was sent down the minors to start the year at the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays (Durham Bulls) because the Rays didn't want to "move his progress along too quickly." In other words, he's arbitration-eligible earlier than if he started the year with the big-league club, so they'll keep him in the minors for a month to a month and a half, ultimately saving them money down the road. This logic behind this decision shows you why Tampa Bay has been so terrible for so long. Instead of bringing up some proven talent to help them win now, they go for the 'saving-money' route which, in a tight AL-east race, may end up costing them a 2nd trip to the playoffs come October.

It's kinda funny, I wrote yesterday about the perils of drafting a pitcher in the first few picks of a draft, oddly enough Price was drafted #1 by the Rays in 2007. He had previously been drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school, but chose to go to college instead.

He has three pitches, a mid-90s fastball, a slider in the mid-to-upper 80s that he likes to throw as a strikeout pitch, and a so-so changeup. The bottomline with Price is that he has not only proven that he can pitch in the major leagues, but also that he can pitch on a big stage. He threw the final 4 outs of a game 7 ALCS win against the Red Sox in 2008 and threw 2 1/2 innings of relief (2ERs) in game 2 of the World Series and picked up a save. All this just goes to show that Tampa is really only concerned about money with him. I expect to see him back in the Majors by the end of May. As far as the whole 1st pick pitcher thing goes, time will tell. He has looked good so far and once he is a regular in the Tampa Bay rotation, we'll see what he's got.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice piece. One thing to note is Price's size - 6'7" and seemingly in excellent shape. This is good for several reasons. One, name the lefties that are over 6'6" and can throw mid to upper 90s. CC Sabathia, Randy Johnson and...Bueller? Bueller? They're a rare breed, which makes him an even more exceptional talent. Two, his height increases the appearance of velocity on his fastball. He is releasing the ball closer to the plate than someone like Scott Kazmir. Shortening the distance between home and the mound by even a foot is a big difference when you're already throwing mid to upper 90s. That heater is on top of you earlier than you're used to.

    I'm crazy about Price - clean mechanics, great repetoire, ridiculously young. I don't see why he won't be the ace of that staff at the start of 2010.