Diamond Cutter Scouting Report: David Price

December 29, 2012
David Price is one of the best young pitchers to enter the league in years (keithallisonphoto.com).

David Price is one of the best young pitchers to enter the league in years (keithallisonphoto.com).

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.

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2009 Top 5 Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays

December 12, 2008
Price tops the Rays list but is he the best prospect in baseball? (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Price tops the Rays list but is he the best prospect in baseball? (keithallisonphoto.com)

With what has become arguably the best Minor League organization in all of baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays have quickly built an army of top prospects that have already begun paying dividends in the form of a World Series appearance out of nowhere last season. What’s even scarier is that despite all the stars that have already joined the Rays, they still have another wave of future stars waiting in the wings for their opportunity. With a fan base that had many, many years of suffering through some very disappointing baseball, the ones that were true to their team are being rewarded tenfold here as we enter the 2009 season. Now let’s take a look at the top five Tampa Bay Rays prospects:

1.) David Price
Position: Pitcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #1
Bats: Left | Throws: Left | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 225
Scouting Report: David Price is the best pitcher we have seen come out of college in a long, long time. His devastating fastball runs 90-95 mph and has a tailing motion away from righties making it extremely difficult to hit. The lanky-lefty also has a high-70’s slurve and a wicked 84-86 mph slider that he throws effectively with two strikes. If you want to try to find something to improve it would be that he needs to get a third plus-pitch such as the change-up he is working on and can at times have control problems. Otherwise he is going to be something special as a pro and already showed that in his much anticipated arrival on the Rays late in 2008 (make sure to check out my in-depth Prospect Spotlight of David Price).

2.) Tim Beckham
Position: Shortstop | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-0 | Weight: 188
Scouting Report: With the first overall pick in 2008 the Rays once again added an incredible player to their organization with Beckham. Beckham is a five tool player in the truest sense of the word and has an incredible feel for the game. With tremendous bat speed and a lot of power potential, Beckham will most likely be able to hit for a high average with the chance to develop some fairly substantial power. He also brings a little above average speed with the ability to steal bases. What makes him even more valuable is the fact that he has all these offensive tools and yet has the defensive aptitude to stay at shortstop unlike many others before him. He’s very athletic which leads to very good range at short with a solid arm and great hands. Even with all these tools, Beckham still is a bit raw and has some areas to smooth out mechanically with his swing but look for him to be number one on my list in 2010.

3.) Wade Davis
Position: Pitcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #4
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 220
Scouting Report: Davis rounds out one of the best collection of young arms in any Minor League system. Davis is a hard thrower with a fastball in the upper-90’s and a sharp moving plus curve. He is currently working on refining one more pitch (between a cut fastball and change up) to help in his battles and to make his other two pitches that much more effective. At first I saw him a middle of the rotation type guy with a ceiling of a number two starter. I’m now coming around more to him being a number two starter with the possibility of becoming an ace type if he can harness one more plus pitch and hold on to his command.

4.) Jeremy Hellickson
Position: Pitcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 185
Scouting Report: Jeremy Hellickson has plus command of his three pitches which enables him to confidently throw them all at any point in the count. He throws a fastball in the low to mid 90’s and a better than average change up and curve. He has very impressive strikeout to walk ratios which will translate well to the major league level if he can continue it. Staying along this path will make him a strong middle of the rotation guy for the Rays down the road.

5.) Desmond Jennings
Position: Outfield | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 185
Scouting Report: People have already questioned my putting Jennings here due to the history of injuries he has suffered including a season ending shoulder surgery last season. But when Jennings is healthy he’s a fantastic ball player. While his power has been slow to develop, he brings fantastic speed and a bat that produces laser line drives. Thanks to his plate discipline he should put up a pretty good on base percentage. His speed not only comes in handy on the base paths but also in center where he is able to cover a lot of ground. If he can shake the stigma of being “injury prone” Jennings should be able to have a solid Major League career.

2008 Rankings: (1) Evan Longoria, (2) David Price, (3) Jacob McGee, (4) Wade Davis, (5) Reid Brignac

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | thefranch15e

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2008 Top 5 Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays

January 31, 2008

As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we continue with the prospect rich American League East as we check in with the seemingly endless Tampa Bay Rays system. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.

1.) Evan Longoria, 3B: Longoria has natural power to all fields due to strong wrists and quick bat. Also has a knack for getting on base so look for a high OBP from him. Very good defensively at third base and while he has the athleticism to play a middle infield spot, look for him to stick at third base for the Rays. Longoria should end up with the Rays coming out of Spring Training in 2008 and truly is a star in the making.

2.) David Price, LHP: David Price is the best pitcher we have seen come out of college in a long time. His fastball runs 90-95 mph and has a tailing motion away from righties. The lanky-lefty also has a high-70’s slurve and a wicked 84-86 mph slider that he throws effectively with two strikes. Needs to get a third plus-pitch such as the change-up he is working on and can have control problems at times. Otherwise he is going to be something special as a pro (entire “Prospect Spotlight” scouting report).

3.) Jacob McGee, LHP: McGee has shown that he is a mature and crafty young left. His pitch selection include a low-90’s plus-fastball with very good movement and an above average changeup and curveball. While he has struggled in the past with control (especially with his secondary pitches) he has learned to harness them and has improved immensely in that area. McGee is just another great Devil Rays’ prospect.

4.) Wade Davis, RHP: Davis rounds out one of the best collection of young arms in any Minor League system. Davis is a hard thrower with a fastball in the upper-90’s and a sharp moving curve. He is currently working on refining at least one more pitch to help in his battles and to make his other two pitches that much more effective. Looks to land as a solid middle of the rotation guy or even as high as a number two starter.

5.) Reid Brignac, SS: Brignac would be a lot higher on this list but his less than impressive defense at a defensive position hurts him. This is in part due to the fact that he is a bit on the large side for a middle infielder. Despite any defensive inadequacies, he has shown he is a very good hitter and has proven to be one of the top offensive shortstops in the Minors.

Catch my column “Twins Killings” every day only on the Most Valuable Network.

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Prospect Spotlight: David Price

October 4, 2007
David Price is one of the best young pitchers to enter the league in years (keithallisonphoto.com).

David Price is one of the best young pitchers to enter the league in years (keithallisonphoto.com).

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.