There's no denying the talent that Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price possesses. Since his rookie year in 2008, Price has matured into a pitcher that has dominated many teams. He is a leader in the Rays clubhouse, and he is a household name in Tampa.
Some may agree with me when I say that Price was robbed of the Cy Young Award back in 2010. But I'll let that go because I strongly believe David Price has the potential to win multiple Cy Young Awards, and here's why.
David Price came into the big leagues in 2008 when he was 23 years old.
Fast-forward four years later, and we still haven't seen the kid hit his peak yet. He's got many years of baseball left in him, and if his skills continue to increase, we could certainly see multiple Cy Young Awards added to Price's resume.
Price has matured since his first big-league start. He's gained an abundance of confidence, and it all comes from his pitches.
The pitcher has a variety of pitches available to his disposal, which I took a look at on fangraphs.com. His two-seam and four-seam fastballs can clock at 98 mph. He can follow up a great fastball with a changeup that can buckle a batter's knees. The final pitch he could make is a slider.
With a variety of pitches, Price is deadly when he takes the mound, and that alone makes him a Cy Young candidate for this season and the seasons to come.
Price has come a long way in terms of his ERA.
In the 2009 season, his first season as an everyday starter, Price finished with a 4.42 ERA. The next season he tuned his mechanics a bit and lowered his ERA to 2.72—the same year that he finished second in Cy Young voting.
This season, Price looks great. In the 22 games thus far, he is sitting pretty at 2.49—good enough for the second-lowest ERA in the American League.
I'm almost certain Price will be competing for Cy Young this year, and if his ERA stays this low, he has the potential to win it this year and future years as well.
Nothing fuels a pitcher more than striking out opponents—aside from getting the W.
In his 34 starts last season, Price struck out 218 batters, the most of his career thus far. Now this season, the Rays pitcher is currently at 146 K's through 22 games—that's about an average of seven per game.
If David is consistent for the remainder of the season and keeps up with the average K's per nine, he has the potential to reach 225 strikeouts, which would surpass his career high and ESPN.com's projected total for him.
What greatly contributes to Cy Young voting is how well you can handle your opponents. Well unlucky for David Price, the majority of his opponents in the opposing batters' boxes are Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles or Blue Jays, since he pitches in the American League East.
The good news is, among all lefty pitchers in the American League, Price has his opponents batting .222—that's good for second best (via ESPN.com).
However, he has given up 172 total bases to opponents— but consider this, Red Sox Jon Lester has given up the most among lefty pitching with 249 total bases. So, Price isn't doing so bad.
If he can continue to dominate, there's no doubt in my mind he could win at least two Cy Young Awards.
Why is Price such a great candidate for the Cy Young Award?
Hal Bodley of MLB.com had an article a few weeks ago advertising Price as "the best pitcher in the AL." I thought his conclusion—a quote from Rays manager Joe Maddon— summed up Bodley's opinion very well. "The pitching is what keeps us in the games."
That pitching is what could win Price multiple Cy Young Awards.
This year, David Price is looking like something special.
Including this season, Price is 55-30—that's good for a winning percentage of .647.
As ESPN.com points out, David currently sits at 14-4; he's tied for first in wins with Jered Weaver.
I'm sure he and Weaver will continue to put on Cy Young-quality performances, but this could be the year that Price outshines and wins first place in voting.
Since the award was instituted in 1958, there have been 14 lefties talented enough to win (via baseball-almanac.com). The last lefty to win Cy Young was Cliff Lee in 2008; David Price could be the 15th lefty to win the award, and he has the potential to join Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Johan Santana as one of the 14 men to win the award multiple times.
Price is certainly capable of jumping over this hurdle, and I am almost certain that he will accomplish this feat.
According to ESPN.com's Cy Young Projector of 2012, David Price is the current favorite to win the award this season.
Price has a total of 132.3 "Cy Young points"—he edges out Jered Weaver by 1.9 points.
If this holds true, we could see David Price awarded his first Cy Young award—the first of what could be a few in the young man's promising career.
One paragraph in particular caught my eye. When talking about Justin Verlander winning the award, he writes,
"Verlander's Cy Young Award was produced in his age-28 season: a relatively common occurrence for those voted to be the best pitcher in the league. Of the 100 previous winners of the award, 11 of them were in their age-28 season; only the 14 in their age-27 season outpace that total."
Price will turn 27 on the 26th of August. This is his age-27 season, and it's of Cy Young quality—he's just hitting his prime, which means plenty of opportunities to turn one award into multiple.