Only a couple of months removed from a World Series title, the Red Sox starter has emerged as a big game pitcher.
As the Red Sox starting staff’s inconsistency continues, David Price has been one of few reliable pieces in the rotation. Through his first 11 starts, Price has an ERA of 2.70, the lowest of any Red Sox starters. Since his short IL stint in early May, Price has boasted an All Star worthy 1.14 ERA with 27 SO in 23.3 IP. Price experienced another setback when he was removed from his start in Houston with flu-like symptoms. He never missed a beat during his following start against Cleveland. Price was able to go 6 innings, giving up 0 ER on 3 hits allowed to the Tribe.
It may seem surprising, but the Red Sox ace hasn’t made an All Star team since 2015 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. He had a couple of mediocre seasons in Boston, but has since capitalized on each opportunity.
How he stacks up
At this time last year, Price had a 4.01 ERA. He also had an elevated walk rate, and an inconsistent K/9. So far in the 2019 season, Price’s K% has risen almost five points from 24.5% in 2018 to 29.4%. Keep in mind that Price has yet to complete a full season, so these two numbers are difficult to compare. He has also been able to lower his BB% from 6.9% in 2018 to 6.0% this season. To add on, his (K-BB)/PA (strikeouts minus walks divided by plate appearances) is up from 17.5% last year to 23.4% in 2019. This means that, so far, Price has found an effective way to decrease the number of batters he walks. While doing this, he has simultaneously increased his amount of strikeouts.
Why he deserves the title of “All Star”
Price is a 5x All Star. With his last selection for the games coming in 2015, he has never experienced this privilege whilst wearing a Sox uniform. Although Price has a low number of IP, his stats this year have already shown a vast improvement from 2018. He has been able to increase batter’s swing percentage at pitches both in and outside of the zone, while effectively decreasing his Contact% by 6%. If you look on PITCH f/x sites such as Brooks Baseball (http://www.brooksbaseball.net) you can see that with his decreasing velocity, comes an arsenal of secondary pitches that have been extremely useful for striking out batters thus far.
How he differs from other All Stars
This season, we’ve seen an increase in his fastball usage, but a decrease in velocity. There has also been a substantial decrease in the usage of his cutter and sinker in 2019. This is probably for the better, as it is difficult not to hang a lot of these pitches. And one pitch almost every hitter is looking to destroy is a cutter or sinker that stays over the plate. With these drops, we’ve also seen a rise in his changeup and curveball percentages. He has been able to showcase his ability to mix and match pitches throughout much of this season. This allows him to perform at the high level he has been for most of 2019. Price’s special power gives him an opportunity to be an unique All Star candidate.
Why you should consider voting Price
As Price lumbers through the bulk of his 7 year/$217M contract, he will need to continue to be creative if he wants to survive in an American League dominated by power hitters. His velocity is decreasing yearly, but his secondary pitches continue to help him stay elite. He is a breath of fresh air in a league dominated by a “Velo is Key” mentality. If you are looking for a unique and entertaining pitcher to watch this All Star game, I encourage you to vote for David Price. His style of play differs from many great pitchers throughout the league, but he still experiences high levels of success throughout the years. Not only is he a well deserving and highly overlooked candidate for the 2019 All Star game, but he is drooling at the chance to represent the Red Sox in the ASG for the first time in his career.