David Price was the 2012 American League Cy Young Award Winner posting a record of 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA. The Rays were going to lean on his left arm ever more in 2013 as the organization traded veteran James Shields to the Kansas City Royals in the offseason. Overall, he had a strong enough season to help lead the Rays back to the postseason finishing the year with a record of 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA but his season was the tale of two seasons between his struggles before a triceps injury and after he returned from the disabled list.
Not to suggest that David Price was out of shape in terms of weight or lack of physical conditioning but his arm may not have had its normal offseason work due to the number of events he attended as the reigning Cy Young.
Maybe there wasn’t anything physically wrong with his arm but for whatever reason he got off to a very slow start in 2013.
Over his first 9 starts he posted a record of 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA (32 ER/55 IP) and had allowed 65 hits while striking out 49 and walking 14.
The question surrounding his declining velocity lead many to question if the health of his powerful left arm.
According to Fangraphs.com Pitch f/x data his average velocity in 2013 was 95.5-mph and in 2012 that fell to 93.4-mph. As the chart below shows (from Fangraphs) in his first 9 starts he was seldom able to reach back and even break 95-mph and his average velocity was also below where he was in 2012.
The concerns about the health of his arm became a reality when he winced after throwing a pitch against the Boston Red Sox on May 15th and had to be removed from the game. He was later diagnosed as having a strained left triceps and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
He spent 47 days out of action (May 16 – July 1) after he returned he began to resemble the pitcher the Rays had expected him to be but his velocity still had not returned to where it had been.
After returning from the disabled list he made 18 starts (including Game 163 in Texas) and posted a record of 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA (37 ER/131.2 IP) allowing only 113 hits.
The one part of his game that impressed more so after his return from injury than at any point in his career was his impeccable control. After returning from injury he struck out 102 batters while only issuing 13 walks.
His overall numbers included leading the American League in complete games with 4, fewest walks per nine innings (1.3 BB/9), and the highest strikeout to walk ratio (5.59).
Based on his 2013 performance the Rays should be able to receive a haul on the trade market and if they decide to hold on to him they will have an ACE to put on top of their rotation heading into the 2014 season.
|162 Game Avg.||16||9||3.19||33||2||221||65||199||1.158||7.8||2.6||8.1||3.06|