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The Maturation of David Price

David Price hatched onto the scene last October, laying claim to the trivia question which will inevitably ask which Rays pitcher recorded the final out in the 2008 ALCS. His transition to the majors leagues as a starter hasn’t gone as smoothly. Through his July 4th start in Texas, Price had walked 30 batters in 38 innings. The 40 strikeouts represented an impressive figure, but still the southpaw needed the walks to drop and soon.

After that start I wrote a piece on my home site, discussing how Price’s ball rate was far too low to sustain such high rates of free passes. Apparently I encountered a case of fantastic timing, because in the month since Price has looked like a different pitcher. He’s begun to pound his hard fastball down in the zone and run it inside to righties. The negatives? He doesn’t work both sides of the plate and developing trust in his change-up/spike curve has been slow coming. Look at the percentages:

Through July 5th 22.3%
After July 5th 18.2%

Through July 5th 16.8%
After July 5th 4.1%

Basically that’s Chris Carpenter. Price’s skill set doesn’t match up with Carpenter’s (one is a groundball pitcher, righty, less reliance on fastball, etc.) but what Price has done with two of his controllable aspects are dead ringers for Carpenter’s season. Five starts is too small of a sample size to proclaim that this is the Price we should expect to see heading forward, still the signs are encouraging.