David Price's Spring Training Focus Will Make for Dominant 2013 Season

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 3, 2013

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 25:  David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game on September 25, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Rays' pitcher David Price entered 2013 spring training as the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner following an incredible year on the mound.

And judging on the early success and focus that Price has brought to the table so far in spring training, the 27-year-old could be set for an even bigger year than before.

Which for his opponents, is a truly scary thought to consider.

Price finished the 2012 season with a 20-5 record and 2.56 ERA, and completely justifying the hype around him from the 2007 draft, where he was the top overall pick.

He beat out star Detroit Tigers pitcher for Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young award and simply gave nothing away all season. In fact, only four times all season did he give up more than three runs in a single game—thus, to improve on that would seriously take some doing.

Yet, as Price's numbers suggest from spring training so far, it might not be that unreasonable to suggest, with the pitcher definitely focussed on the year ahead.

His most recent appearance against the Minnesota Twins saw Price pitch three shutout innings and strike out five batters en route to a 7-2 victory. 

Moreover, he allowed just one hit all game.

Price would have been forgiven for taking it easy during spring training and letting himself warm into the long season ahead, but it appears that the Cy Young Award winner will be doing nothing of the kind—establishing good groundwork now for the year ahead.

Yet as the star pitcher said via The Washington Post when questioned about his preseason dominance, that's just not the way he operates.

That's not the way I operate. I’m not good enough to just flip a switch. April is less than a month away. I’m not that type of person.

I don’t care if it’s backyard baseball or whatever. If it’s my day to pitch and my day to play, I’m going to take it serious. I don’t want to come out here and get it handed to me and be like, ‘Oh, OK, I don’t care, this is just spring training.’

In the bullpen we figured some stuff out that I was doing last year, drifting toward home plate. Just being able to stay back makes everything a lot easier... allows my arm to catch up to my body and it allows me to be able to throw the ball where I was trying to. That’s what I did today [and it] felt good.

In a tough AL East, Tampa Bay will certainly be a genuine challenger for the divisional title this year, and especially if Price is as focused as he seems to be.

The 27-year-old appears focussed on the job that is at large this season, and completely understanding of how to go about achieving it.

Even those around him can see that to be the case (per ESPN).

"The most impressive thing about David," says Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman, "is he’s gotten better every single year.

"In 2010, he was better than '09. In '11, he was better than '10. In '12, he was better than '11. You can’t ask for much more than that. And the scary thing is, as good as he was last year, I still think there’s more upside there." 

Which for the Rays, can only mean good things in 2013.


Will David Price be the AL Cy Young Winner again in 2013?

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