The Rays are terrible, David Price is not. In fact, David Price might be better than ever. You have to completely ignore his Win-Loss record (as you should always do, in any case, with any pitcher), his ERA doesn’t even come close to telling the full story, and look further into his high number of home runs allowed. The team behind him is awful. That doesn’t mean he is, because he is the exact opposite of awful.
Since becoming a full-time, 30-start guy in the Tampa rotation, Price is 3rd among all American League starters in WAR, 4th in innings, and 5th in strikeouts. He is as consistently dominant as it gets, and his impact on the Rays franchise has been tremendous. While Tampa Bay has fallen apart this year, his production has stayed the same, and improved in some aspects.
His K/9 rate is a career-high 10.35 in 2014, and his walk rate is at an incredibly low 1.01, second best in the American League, and have you heard about his 133:13 K:BB ratio (!!!)? If he continues this type of dominance, his 25.2% K-BB rate will be the best since Randy Johnson‘s 25.5% a decade ago.
He has a 3.81 ERA this year. Not great, but ERA doesn’t tell the full story, as I mentioned earlier. His 2.59 xFIP is 3rd in the league, while his BABIP is .322, meaning he has been slightly unlucky. For his career, his BABIP is .288, meaning he is right at around where you would expect the BABIP of a dominant starter to consistently be.
The one concern is his “alarming” home run rate. He is tied with the Yankees‘ Vidal Nuno for the most home runs allowed in the AL with 16, and allow me to channel my inner-NFL analyst.
After his rookie year, people were concerned about Andrew Luck‘s number of interceptions. He threw the ball 627 times and had 18 INTs, which is 2.9% of all passes. That’s nothing! Look at him now, not a concern, huh?
David Price has allowed 16 homers this year, but 8 of them are solo home runs. Wouldn’t you rather allow that than have an inning of a couple hits, a walk, and a 25-pitch inning?
7 of his home runs allowed have come in low-leverage situations, and he has been absolutely shut-down in high leverage situations. Price brings his absolute untouchable stuff when he has to, and does his best to manage his pitches through the game, and not burn his best pitches when he doesn’t need to.
David Price is going to be traded, whether it be to the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Blue Jays, or wherever, and whatever team gets him is going to very pleased with the phenomenal pitcher they get in return.
Stats courtesy of FanGraphs.com.
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