David Price Player Projection No. 52

Key Stats: Like many young pitchers tend to do, David Price gained better command of the strikezone in his second Major League season. The walks went down and the strikeouts went up, but despite this his ERA rose by three quarters of a run. That is why sometimes ERA isn’t the best way to gauge a pitcher’s performance. His xFIP, FIP, and WAR were all better in 2011 than they were in 2010, so although fantasy folks would tell you he had a down year it was really a better season.

Skeptics Say: All the numbers look great at the end of the season, but going game by game Price’s season wasn’t at all spectacular. His quality start percentage was tied for 46th among starters with at least 100 innings last year. That’s a big part of the reason why he finished with more losses than wins and a reason to be concerned about taking him as one of the first twelve starting pitchers off the board next year. 

Peer Comparison: Price’s improved command last year was significant as his strikeout to walk rate went up by 1.08. Here are some other big-time starters that have made a big-time jump in this category in their second full season while falling in ERA. 

Player

K:BB Increase

ERA Change

Justin Verlander

0.67

Up 0.03

Clayton Kershaw

0.59

Up 0.12

David Price

1.08

Up  0.77

Jon Lester

1.22

Up 0.20

Dan Haren

0.83

Up 0.39

Price got hurt the most even though his improvement was the second best. I’m not going to explain how something like that happens. 

Team Outlook: Price had worse numbers at home last season than he did on the road. This is another stat that may just be an anomaly. Between Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Davis over the past 13 seasons only twice has home ERA bested road ERA. 

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #12 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #11 Starting Pitcher & #37 Overall; Yahoo: #12 Starting Pitcher & #51 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #12 Starting Pitcher & #65 Overall; RotoChamp: #55 Overall 

Projection: The numbers from 2010 are unlikely to come back. His LOB% and home run per fly ball rates were relatively lucky that season. That said, between home field and the improvement in Price’s command I would think he must come in under last year’s 3.49 ERA this season. 
16 wins 3.19 ERA 1.13 WHIP 196 K in 214 innings