Tampa Bay Rays: Is The Price Right?

Kevin MarkumCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2009

David Price is a name that you are starting to see very often in the context of Major League Baseball.

Everyone watched the heroic Rays as they challenged the odds in last season’s playoff race.

David Price both won and saved a game in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox last year and paved the way for the path to the World Series.

You know the story.  The Phillies won the series against the Rays the following week dashing the hopes of baseball fans around America.  I think we can all say that part of us was pulling for the Rays in 2008.

The Rays are in a good period right now talent-wise.  New and young faces like Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, and David Price are looking to make the Rays a contender for years to come.

However, David Price in particular will put them over the top.

David Price is a young player from the Nashville area. He graduated from Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, TN in the Class of 2004. That’s where I first met David as a freshman pitcher for the Blackman Blaze. All I heard about in class was how we had this lefty that could touch 92 mph.

This lefty was David Price.

David was a sensational high school athlete. I remember sitting down the row from him in freshman geometry. He was very humble despite his extreme talent.

In addition to his talent as a pitcher, he was also a top player on the varsity basketball team. He even set the record for most three-pointers in a tournament game by nailing 12.

While he was a standout basketball player for the Blaze, he was an even better baseball player. I hit against him one time in a summer baseball league, three pitches…and I never saw one of them.  His high school stats speak for themselves though:

21 Ks in a single game

Season average of 16.35 Ks per game

Three no-hitters

0.43 ERA

It is easy to see why Vanderbilt was willing to offer him a scholarship out of high school.

Fast forward to today.

The Rays now have a young, incredibly talented, left-handed, and now experienced pitcher. From a baseball standpoint, he’s an incredible pitcher.

Notice I didn’t say “prospect”.  You can't pitch like he did in the playoffs and be called a “prospect”.

While in baseball, it is tough to predict the future for a pitcher unlike a rookie in the NBA, It seems we have the LeBron James of pitchers in our midst.

He could very well be an ace on a major league staff today.

Sure, he will develop into a better pitcher, but his status now is already potentially All-Star worthy.

The Rays would do well to keep Price signed for a long time.

The Rays organization owes it to their players and their fans to make sure that David does not turn into another 10-year contract for the New York Yankees.

Usually in my conservative and cynical view of Major League Baseball, I don’t like to be overly enthusiastic about rookie players.

In the steroid era, I cannot even get too excited about a 50+ HR season from a 10-year veteran.

Despite that, mark my words: David Price is the next big thing in Major League Baseball.

So to answer my question: “Yes, the price is VERY right.”