Each year when the so called experts spit off their list of the best in the game we hear names that sound familiar and most times it’s the usual suspects. Well when it comes to pitching in the major league it’s pretty much the same.
Usually you hear names like Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg, R.A. Dickey, Jered Weaver, Felix Hernandez, and Cole Hamels. When you look at the list year after year one name keeps coming up missing and that player is David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Price is dominant and the 27-year-old has put together a fantastic three-year stretch, capping it off with the most wins and lowest ERA during any of his five seasons in the majors.
Price has been an All-Star each year since 2010, and now he is in the running for more prestigious accolades. The other four pitchers who gave Price a run for the AL ERA title are strong candidates for the Cy Young award, but the Rays pitcher has an extremely compelling case as well.
Price has finished this season with twenty wins and five losses. He has also been nearly unhittable during his last eighteen starts winning twelve out of thirteen games and posting an ERA of 2.26. Price’s twenty wins placed him amongst league leaders in wins as he became the fourth twenty game winner of the season joining Washington's Gio Gonzalez (21-8), the New York Mets' R.A. Dickey (20-6) and the Los Angeles Angels' Jered Weaver (20-4).
Winning the Cy Young will be hard for Price despite having the best ERA in baseball. Price isn’t the first name that you think of when you think of dominance unless you are an opposing batter. It’s too bad too because the man’s game speaks for itself and it speaks loud.
As a partial season ticket holder for the Durham Bulls (gotta keep it real, I am ballin on a budget) 2008 was magical for guys like me. We were playing pretty good that year but when Price came up in August we were all pumped as he had dominated Single A and Double A baseball and we were expecting him to come in and deliver. Well things were bleak for Price as he lost his first game with the Bulls despite a good showing.
Price’s time in Durham would be brief as he got called up to the Majors for some bull pen depth a month later for the Rays and he never looked back. Once Price turned pro our relationship went south. Yeah I am Durham Bulls fan but only because I live in the Bull City. Once they leave us, I have to respectfully disengage myself from them.
It’s no secret that I am a Yankees fan and I clearly remember the first time Price faced my Yankees in 2008. I was happy to see him play but I was equally happy to watch Derek Jeter take him deep to right field as well. Interestingly enough Price was also the victim of Jeter’s 3000th hit in 2011 (go figure).
Now that Price is seasoned he is even more impressive to watch than at any time. He has an array of devastating pitches. His fastball is usually somewhere around ninety-six miles per hour but he can go get more when he needs too.
Price is starting to hit that stride that most good pitchers do in their mid to late twenties. I root for him when he’s not pitching against my team and when he does well its somewhat bitter sweet for me. That being said my argument still stands as Price is the best in the game right now in my opinion.