2011 MLB Fantasy Projections: Why Tampa Bay Rays' David Price is Overrated

Nick Kappel@@NickKappelAnalyst IIIMarch 10, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG - OCTOBER 06:  Pitcher David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game 1 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field on October 6, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

In 2009, David Price was arguably the top prospect in the minor leagues. Baseball America claimed the young southpaw possessed two plus-plus pitches in his “mid-90s fastball and biting slider.”

Price mowed down A.L. hitters in 2010, throwing his 94 MPH fastball 74 percent of the time, the second highest rate among qualified starter. It was the ninth-best heater in 2010, checking in at 23.5 runs above average.

His secondary pitchers, however, lagged far behind.

Price offered his supposed plus-plus slider at a five percent rate last season, similar to the use of his changeup. He also added a curveball to the mix, tossing it 15 percent of the time. While all three had positive value, none stood out as a go-to pitch that can compliment his electric fastball.

His numbers on the surface—2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.11 K/9, 3.41 BB/9—suggest Price is on the brink of elite status, but his advanced stats indicate otherwise.

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If you read my recent article on Matt Cain, you understand the value and meaning of FIP and xFIP. Cain has defied these red flags for several years, but Price doesn’t appear equipped to do the same.

Price’s FIP (3.42) and xFIP (3.99) stand out in comparison to his 2.72 ERA. His .270 BABIP likely aided his 2010 performance and probably caused the spiked FIP.

His scary xFIP was the product of the 18th-lowest HR/FB rate among qualified starters.

Looking forward to 2011, fantasy managers should lower their expectations of the 25 year old A.L. East starter. Price’s current ADP on Mock Draft Central is 62, while Yahoo! composite ranks him No. 58 overall.

The Insider is not as kind, however, as my calculations suggest a 2011 ERA approaching the mid-threes.

While his strikeout rate should remain a plus and his walk rate hopefully continues to improve, there’s very little evidence to suggest Price is a legitimate sub-3.00 ERA pitcher…yet.

His ceiling may be sky high, but for now, he’s the 21st pitcher on our 2011 Big Board, No. 80 overall.

2010 stats 208.2 19 8.11 3.41 2.72 1.19
3-year average 117 10 7.74 3.51 3.31 1.24
2011 FBI Forecast 211 15 8.00 3.25 3.40 1.22


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