Prior to the season, it was a foregone conclusion that David Price, unanimously considered one of the top two prospects in baseball, would be up and contributing to the Tampa Bay Rays by June.
The team was just going to send him down to the minors for a little more seasoning, despite already showcasing him on the grandest of stages. What they have, however, is a pitcher struggling at Triple-A, making it nearly impossible for the team to recall him right now.
His 2009 line is as follows:
21 Strikeouts (7.66 K/9)
16 Walks (5.84 BB/9)
The blame does not fall on bad luck, but lack of control. He was a lights out pitcher as he moved up the Rays' farm system last season, posting impressive K/BB ratios of 5.29 at Single-A, 3.44 at Double-A, and 3.00 in the Majors.
It should be noted that during his 18-inning Triple-A stint, his K/9 was 8.50, and his BB/9 was 4.50, eerily similar to the numbers he’s posted this season.
Is he truly not ready to take the ball as a starting pitcher against top-tier talent? Remember, the majority of his success for the Rays came as a reliever. Still, at 23 years old, I find it hard to believe that he’s not suited to take the ball and get major league hitters out.
Could it be that he simply was disappointed in not making the team immediately out of Spring Training? To me, that would explain some early season struggles, but it is something that he has to have gotten over by now. He can’t let something like that bother him for this long if he wants to be a successful major league pitcher.
Unfortunately, it is his last few starts that have been the worst, walking 12 batters over 11 innings of work in three starts. There is simply no way to equate that type of control to success.
Baseball America recently said, “What’s wrong with David Price? Much of it appears to be command. He’s throwing in the low-90s and touching the mid-90s with his fastball, but he’s not throwing enough strikes and not throwing good enough strikes when he does get the ball over the plate.”
For me, that says it all.
If he can string together two or three good starts, this will all quickly be forgotten. He can get back on schedule to make an impact for the Rays and fantasy owners in the near future. It starts tonight when he takes the ball against Louisville. Let’s see if he can right the ship.
What does everyone else think? Will he be able to turn it around quickly? Are you at all concerned with his struggles?
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