Name: David Price | Organization: Tampa Bay Rays
Position: Pitcher | Drafted: 2007 1st Round (1st Pick)
Bats: Left | Throws: Left | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 215
When the Tampa Bay Devil Rays once again had the number one overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, it was no surprise when they chose a lanky-lefty from Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-6 college star named David Price was a shoe in to be the first overall pick in the draft. This kid is not only good, he’s the best pitcher to come out of college in many, many years. So what makes him so special?
History: David Price has been dominating hitters for as long as anyone can remember. His stellar career started off in the small town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee pitching for Blackman High School where he would compile a 0.43 ERA and 151 strikeouts. Price would also win many, many awards for his efforts including the Rutherford County MVP Pitcher in 2003 and 2004, the Co-District 7AAA Pitcher of the Year in his senior season, the Rutherford County Male Athlete of the Year in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and also received the honor of playing in the 2004 High School All-American Game his senior season. All of this success at such a young age was only the beginning for Mr. Price.
Just as Price had set records and won awards for his brilliance on the mound in high school, he would continue this as he attended Vanderbilt University. As a freshman, Price received the honor of being named a Freshman All-American by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball after posting a 2-4 record, a 2.86 ERA, and racking up 92 strikeouts in only 19 games and 69.1 innings. The following season Price didn’t have as dazzling of a stat line, but he did set a school single season record with 155 strikeouts (he also only gave up 43 walks for a 3.6 K/BB ratio) including one game with 17 against Arkansas.
As impressive as his first two college seasons were, he definitely saved the best for last. In his junior season (which would be his last collegiate season) Price would go 11-1 with a 2.63 ERA and would shatter his old school record as he lead the nation with 194 strikeouts (his K/BB ratio this time was an unbelievable 6.26). Price would win many awards that season but none greater than his winning of college baseball’s top honor, the Golden Spikes Award. As sad as Vanderbilt’s team was to see him go, it was time for him to move on.
Before we get into the 2007 draft, it is important to note Price’s great work while playing for our country. In 2005 Price was a member of the United States National team where he went 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 39 strikeouts. Then in the summer of 2006, Price helped the United States win the gold medal in the World University Championships in Cuba. Price would post impressive numbers again going 5-1 with a minuet 0.20 ERA. The world was now on notice of just how good this kid really was.
With a laundry list of awards, achievements, and records attached to his name, David Price had pretty much made a fool-proof case for himself to be drafted first overall in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. So with Tampa Bay possessing the first overall pick, it was a no-brainer for them to choose the dominating lefty. Price would go on to sign his first ever contract on August 15, 2007 for six-years and $8.5 million. This of course came with a $5.6 million signing bonus which stands as the second highest bonus in MLB history behind Justin Upton’s $6.1 million following the 2005 draft. This was the third highest guaranteed contract ever for a draft pick and was well worth the money for such a special talent.
To see what this much money gets you (other than the obvious that we just covered) is a player with a glimmering scouting report. The Diamond Cutter scouting report that I have built shows not only how talented this kid is but, as scary as this sounds, show’s he still has a little room for improvement.
Scouting Report: Price’s money pitch has always been his dominating plus-fastball which sits at about 90-94 mph (it can sometimes reach upwards of 95). As a lefty, what makes him even more difficult to hit is that his fastball has excellent tailing action that moves away from right-handed hitters. This really gives no one, right or left-handers, any advantage. The two other pitches he mixes in are a 77-79 mph slurve and a plus-slider that ranges around 84-86 mph. He uses his slider very well in two-strike counts making it very difficult for hitters expecting a fastball. Price is also working on a changeup pitch to add to his arsenal (one of the areas for improvement I mentioned). Right now it is average at best but if he can work on not tipping it off by dropping his arm slot when throwing it, he could develop it as a third plus-pitch making him even more difficult to hit. This is one area the Devil Rays organization will be working very closely with him on.
Another area that can sometimes hamper Price is his control. While it doesn’t happen much, occasionally he can lose control of the strike zone and start allowing walks to pile up. This happens when his mechanics begin to get shaky and he loses his fluid delivery. He very rarely walks hitters which can be seen with his very low BB/9 ratios so as long as he can keep his rhythm going with this delivery he will be just fine.
Price has the make-up, the athleticism, the overpowering stuff, and mentality to be a frontline starter in the Majors for many, many years. Once he harnesses his developing changeup as a third plus-pitch, he will be virtually unstoppable and one of the elite pitchers in the game.
With a glowing resume like this its no wonder that once Tampa Bay learned they had the first overall pick that they knew they could put their feet up and relax. Because when a star like this falls into your lap it tends to make your job very, very easy.