David Price is not anonymous. Though he has spent his five-year Major League career with the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that is routinely among the bottom in attendance, the 26-year-old left-hander is known by fans.
Along with Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, Price is a leading contender for the American League Cy Young Award. In 22 starts, he is 14-4 with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
In 148 innings, he has allowed 119 hits and has struck out 146 batters. Opposing hitters have a .222 average against him.
While Weaver has a better winning percentage (he is 14-1), ERA (2.29), WHIP (0.95) and batting average against (.202), he has also received the most run support of any qualifying Major League pitcher at 6.53 runs per game.
Price is getting 4.55 runs per game, which is higher than Verlander (3.41) and Felix Hernandez (3.91) but frustrating nonetheless for the first overall pick of the 2007 draft out of Vanderbilt University.
If Tampa Bay did not have the second worst overall offense in the majors with numbers like a .230 average and a .679 OPS, Price would likely be nearing 20 wins in August.
Price’s performance on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles was a microcosm his season.
He limited the Orioles to no runs and two hits over eight innings, but the Rays did not score in a 1-0 defeat.
They have not scored a run in the last 21 innings. As for Price, it was his ninth consecutive outing of at least seven innings.
He has not allowed more than three runs in nine straight starts.
Price – Cy Young Candidate
Rays manager Joe Maddon agrees that Price is pitching more effectively than he did in 2010, when he recorded a 19-6 record with a 2.72 ERA and finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting to Hernandez.
Since the Rays offense is anemic, and Weaver has an abundance of run-producing bats behind him in Los Angeles, Price could finish second again.
It would seem that a Cy Young Award is an inevitable part of Price’s future. He made an immediate impact in the majors when he pitched out of the bullpen in 2008, when the Rays captured the American League East title.
A few weeks into his Major League career, the Murfreesboro, Tenn. native earned a pressure-packed save against Boston in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series. In Game Two of the ALCS, he earned the win, logging a post-season victory before winning a regular season game.
The bullpen was a short-term home for a power lefty with an arsenal that includes a four-seam fast ball and two-seam fast ball that ranges from 94-98, a nasty slider and an effective change-up, curve ball and cutter. After a mediocre 2009 season when he was 10-7 with a 4.42 ERA, he had the memorable 2010 performance.
Though he was just 12-13 last year, he still produced a 3.49 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, and held opposing hitters to a .230 average in 224.1 innings.
Price is on target for a third consecutive season of more than 200 innings and has emerged as the Rays staff ace and one of the best pitchers in the majors.
When Tampa Bay’s front office brings in a couple much-needed middle of the order bats, beating Price will be one of the most challenging feats in the game.
Tampa Bay Rays News – Rays manager Joe Maddon said there is a 50-50 chance that Evan Longoria (hamstring) returns on Tuesday. Jeff Niemann (fibula) will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Charlotte Wednesday.