Everyone knew David Price had potential.
A 6’6” pitcher out of Vanderbilt, who torched SEC hitting, seemed destined to be a top-five draft pick from the moment he declared his professional intentions.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school, Price decided that becoming a college pitcher was a key step before joining the minor leagues and getting the call to the big leagues.
Strikeout after strikeout can describe his Vanderbilt career. His junior season consisted of 194 strikeout victims. That same year, he also won SEC Male Athlete of the Year and college baseball’s top honor, the Dick Howser Trophy.
It was no surprise when the Tampa Bay Rays took Price at No. 1 overall that same year in the 2007 draft. He epitomized everything professional scouts looked for in a player.
To put it simply, Price tore up the minor leagues. While the Rays shocked everyone in 2008 and clinched a playoff berth over the New York Yankees, Price was ready to join their ranks.
Many remember his dominating performances against the Boston Red Sox to send the Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series. His three-strikeout save in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox was even more impressive considering that Price was only a rookie.
Now, after three straight years of being an All-Star, and with a record of 16-4 and a 2.39 ERA with 159 strikeouts, Price is the undoubted ace of the fantastic Rays starting rotation.
This season has been his best to date. His pitching has only improved with his years in the majors.
Price has finally earned the deserved Cy Young talks that circulate around his name. My question is how good is this Vanderbilt product going to be in five years and how long will the Rays be able to hold onto him?
Either way, right now, the Rays have an ace who intends to lead them to the playoffs. He might just reach the 20-win mark in the process.