David Price

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David Taylor Price

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Biographical Information[edit]


David Price was the top pick in the 2007 amateur draft.

Price was a three-time Male Athlete of the Year in Rutherford County in high school. As a freshman at Vanderbilt, he had a 2-4, 2.86 record with 92 K and 13 BB in 69 1/3 IP. He lost Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors to J.P. Arencibia but made the Baseball America second team freshman All-American team. Collegiate Baseball also named him to their Freshman All-American squad. The young left-hander also pitched for the USA college national team, going 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 39 K in 29 IP while allowing 13 hits. He led the team in strikeouts and ERA. Against Italy, he fanned 11 while giving up one hit in 7 IP and he shut out Nicaragua. Baseball America named him a summer baseball All-Star.

In his sophomore season, he was 9-5 with a 4.32 ERA for Vanderbilt but fanned 155 in 110 IP to lead the Southeastern Conference. He was fourth in NCAA Division I in strikeouts behind Tim Lincecum, Eddie Degerman and P.J. Walters and right ahead of Brad Lincoln. He was third in strikeouts per 9 innings and 4th in IP. He had started the year 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA before struggling in SEC play and allowing 7 earned runs against Georgia Tech in the NCAA regionals. Returning to team USA, he was 5-1 with a 0.20 ERA, allowing 21 hits and 7 walks while whiffing 61 in 44 IP as the ace. He helped the team claim a Gold Medal at the 2006 World University Championship in Havana.

Price went unbeaten in 11 decisions as a junior. He whiffed 175 in 123 IP, walking 29 and allowing a .201 average and one home run. He was Pitcher of the Year in the SEC and won the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year Award, Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award. He led all of NCAA Division I in strikeouts. In the regional NCAA tournaments, he lost a relief decision to the University of Michigan, eliminating #1 Vanderbilt from competition for the 2007 College World Series.

In the 2007 amateur draft, Price was taken first overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Scouted by Brad Matthews, he signed on August 15th for 6 years and $11.25 million, including a $5.6 million signing bonus. Price missed the start of the 2008 season due to an elbow strain sustained in spring training. He returned to action on May 22nd, hitting 98 mph on the radar gun in his first inning back. He had a fine debut, throwing five shutout innings for the Vero Beach Devil Rays, allowing 3 hits and a walk while fanning four in a 2-0 win over the Clearwater Threshers. He went 4-0, 1.82 in 6 starts for Vero Beach, to earn a promotion to AA. There, he was dominant in 9 starts for the Montgomery Biscuits, posting a record of 7-0, 1.89 to earn another promotion, this time to AAA. He did not pitch as well for the Durham Bulls, going 1-1, 4.50, in 18 innings, but that still put him at 12-1, 2.30 for the year.

He was called up to Tampa Bay in early September and made his debut in relief at Yankee Stadium on September 14, 2008. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits, including a solo home run by Derek Jeter, and walking none while striking out four in a Rays' loss. He was the second player selected in the 2007 draft to reach the majors, after the Washington Nationals' Ross Detwiler a year earlier. He was impressive enough in his first taste of the big leagues to earn a spot in the Rays' bullpen for the postseason after putting up a 1.93 ERA over 14 innings and striking out 12. He won a game and recorded a save in the 2008 ALCS as the Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox in seven games, his win coming in an extra-inning game in Game 2, and his save in the clinching Game 7 that sent the Rays to the 2008 World Series. In Game 2 of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, he relieved Dan Wheeler with two outs in the 7th with the Rays holding a 4-0 lead; he gave up a solo home run to Eric Bruntlett in the 8th and an unearned run in the 9th, and was not eligible for a save, but was still a key contributor to the 4-2 win, the first and only victory in a World Series game by the Rays.

Price was a full-time starter for the Rays in 2009, making 23 starts with a record of 10-7, 4.42. He was one of the early favorites for the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year Award, but did not put up the expected eye-popping numbers. Those came in his sophomore season, 2010, when he set a Rays team record for wins with 19, shattering the old mark of 13 held by Rolando Arrojo. He finished the year 19-6, 2.72, with 188 strikeouts in 208 2/3 innings. He started the 2010 All-Star Game and finished second behind Felix Hernandez in Cy Young Award voting. He started Games 1 and 5 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers, but lost both times by 5-1 scores as the Rays bowed out in the first round of the postseason after finishing with the best record in the majors during the regular season. Price was not quite so dominant in 2011, but was still named to a second All-Star squad while serving as the Rays' ace. On August 28th, he struck out 14 Toronto Blue Jays in 7 innings to set a Tampa franchise record, on his way to a 12-0 win. He finished that season with a record of 12-13, 3.49, leading the AL with 34 starts and recording 218 Ks in 224 1/3 innings. He started Game 3 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers on October 3rd and pitched relatively well, keeping his opponents off the scoreboard until the 7th, when he allowed a two-run homer to Mike Napoli and left after putting another runner on base, who eventually came in to score. He was charged with Tampa Bay's 4-3 loss which put Texas in the lead in the Series, which ended after after the Rays lost Game 4.

Price then had his best season in 2012, even though the Rays missed the postseason, finishing behind the Yankees and the surprising Baltimore Orioles. He was outstanding all season, making 31 starts with a record of 20-5, becoming the first 20-game winner in Rays history in the process and leading the AL in wins and winning percentage. His 2.56 ERA was also best in the league, and he added a pair of complete games and a shutout, pitched 211 innings and struck out 205 opposing batters, the 6th highest total in the circuit. He returned to the All-Star Game for the third straight year and after the season was voted the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, finishing just ahead of the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander, who had won the award the previous season.

On May 2, 2013, Price was issued a $1,000 fine by MLB for getting into a heated exchange with umpire Tom Hallion over a strike call during an April 28th start against the Chicago White Sox. Two of Price's teammates, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore, joined in with comments on Twitter after the game, and were also fined. What was unusual was that Hallion was fined too, for having used an expletive while arguing with Price. That incident came in the midst of a very tough start to the season for Price, as he went 1-4, 5.24 over his first 9 starts, a far cry from the previous season's dominance. On May 16th, he was placed on the disabled list for the first time of his career with a strained left triceps. He was 1-4, 5.24 at that point, but pitched much better after coming back on July 2nd. He ended the year with a record of 10-8, 3.33 in 27 starts, and even managed to lead the AL with 4 complete games despite the time missed. He made a start against the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, but he was rocked for 7 runs in as many innings and ended up with a loss.

The Rays had a rough start to their season in 2014, falling to 18 games below .500 at one point, but David was one of the few consistent performers during that rough stretch. The Rays managed to pull out of their death spin and were back within two games of the break-even mark by the end of July, with no team having yet managed to take a significant lead in the AL East. The question was whether the Rays would be sellers or buyers at the trading deadline, particular in Price's case, given he was in the last year of his contract (although he also had an option year left). He was 11-8, 3.11 in 23 starts and had pitched as well as ever. In the end, the Rays decided to sell, and on July 31st, he was sent to the Detroit Tigers in return for P Drew Smyly, IF Nick Franklin and Class A SS Willy Adames. He had to wait until his third start for the Tigers to register his first win, a 4-2 defeat of the Seattle Mariners on August 16th. On August 21st, he pitched a complete game one-hitter, but lost, 1-0 to his former team the Rays, as Brandon Guyer tripled after Ben Zobrist had reached on an error in the 1st. In his following start on August 27th, he allowed 9 straight hits to the New York Yankees at the start of the 3rd inning, ending up with 8 runs and 12 hits allowed in two innings of work; the 9 straight hits were one shy of the all-time American League mark. No pitcher had allowed 9 straight hits since Bob Forsch in 1989. Only three other starting pitchers had ever had an outing in which they had allowed 12 hits and 8 earned runs in 2 innings or less. He finished with a combined record of 15-12, 3.26 in 34 starts, while his 271 strikeouts led the major leagues. He started Game 3 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles and pitched well, giving up only 2 runs in 8 innings, but the Tigers still lost, 2-1, to complete a disappointing three-game sweep at the hands of the Birds.

He started the 2015 season very strong, as he did not give up an earned run over his first two starts, totaling 14 1/3 innings. He was named an All-Star for the 5th time that season, but overall the Tigers were very disappointing, struggling to play .500 ball and falling well behind the leaders of the AL Central. The Tigers decided to be sellers at the trading deadline and as a result Price was involved in his second deal in two years on July 30th as he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt. He was 9-4, 2.53 in 21 starts at the time. David was a winner in his first start for the Blue Jays on August 3rd, defeating the Minnesota Twins, 5-1, while striking out 11 in 8 innings. That was the most strikeouts ever by a pitcher making his debut with the Jays; Roger Clemens had previously held the mark with 9 when he pitched his first game for Toronto in 1997. That game was just of sign of things to come. With a 9-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on September 16th, he improved to 7-1 as a Blue Jay, putting his contribution in line with some of the greatest records compiled by pitchers acquired in mid-season, such as Randy Johnson or Doyle Alexander. He finished the season with a mark of 9-1, 2.30 in 11 stars for the Blue Jays, for an overall record of 18-5, 2.45. His ERA was the best in the AL and he finished second behind Dallas Keuchel in the voting for the Cy Young Award. In the postseason, he was unable to end his string of starts without a win, as while he won Game 4 of the ALDS over the Texas Rangers, it was in relief of R.A. Dickey. He lost Game 1 of that series, 5-3, as well as Game 2 of the ALCS against the Kansas City Royals, 6-3. In that game, he had a 3-0 lead entering the 7th inning, before the Royals rallied for five runs and handed him another loss. In Game 6, he gave up a couple of early runs and left trailing, 3-1, but the Jays managed to tie the score before allowing the winning run in the 8th inning and being eliminated.

Price became a free agent for the first time after the season and it was clear that he was in line for a huge contract. Despite demands from their fans, the Jays quickly conceded that he was out of their price range, and on December 1st, the Boston Red Sox were the winners of his services, with an offer of $217 million over 7 years. It was the biggest contract ever for a pitcher. His first year with the Red Sox gave some mixed results: he did go 17-9 and the team finished in first place in the AL East after a couple of last-place finishes, but his ERA was relatively high at 3.99 - a full run and a half higher than the previous year - and he led the league in innings pitched (230) and batters faced, but also with 227 hits allowed. His postseason struggles continued as he lost his start in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians by giving up 5 runs in 3 1/3 innings. That made him 0-8 as a starter in the postseason. He had to undergo an MRI on his pitching elbow as spring training opened in 2017 after experiencing pain in his forearm during a simulated game. The exam turned out negative, meaning he did not need surgery - only rest. It took him until May 29th to make his season's debut, during which he pitched 5 innings against the Chicago White Sox and ended up with a no decision. He was a winner in his second start, but on June 8th, he was rocked for 6 runs in 5 innings in a 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees­; the day before, he made the news for getting into a spat with reporters who had tried to interview him in the clubhouse. After a tough first month, he began to pitch like the Price of old. In his first start after the All-Star break on July 16th, he held the Yankees scoreless for 8 innings while striking out 8 to salvage a split of a day/night doubleheader and a four-game series with a 3-0 win. However, he struggled in his next two starts and on July 28th was placed back on the disabled list. He finally returned to the mound on September 17th, pitching a couple of scoreless innings in relief in a 3-2 loss to the Rays. He continued to pitch well out of the bullpen over the last two weeks of the season, including a key outing on September 30th against the Houston Astros which helped to clinch the division title for the Red Sox. He finished the season at 6-3, 3.38 in 16 games (11 starts). In the Division Series against Houston, he was solid in two relief outings, with 2 2/3 scoreless innings in a loss in Game 2 and then a clutch 4 scoreless innings in relief of Doug Fister and Joe Kelly in Game 3 on October 8th. He came in to start the top of the 4th with Boston leading, 4-3, and he left after the Red Sox secured their victory with a six-run 7th inning.

He came in to the 2018 season confident that he was back in good health, but after not allowing a run in 14 innings in his first two starts, he had to leave a start against the New York Yankees on April 11th after one inning, during which he allowed 4 runs. He complained of a tingling sensation in his pitching hand. It was only a short-lived problem, as he ended up making 30 starts and pitching 176 innings while going 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA. There was still a question of how he would perform in the postseason, and these were raised again when he was chased from his Game 2 start in the Division Series without completing two innings against the Yankees. Infamously, the Boston Globe ran a headline saying he should not be allowed to pitch again in the postseason, given his terrible history up to then. Luckily, manager Alex Cora did not heed that advice, and the Red Sox won all four of his further starts that postseason. He was especially outstanding in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers as he went 2-0, 1.98, including an outstanding performance in the title-clinching Game 5 on October 28th, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings as Boston won, 5-1. He had an option to forego the four remaining years of his contract and become a free agent anew, but he declined to do so, choosing to remain with Boston.

Like all members of the Red Sox starting rotation, he started off the 2019 season slowly - he gave up 4 runs in 6 innings in each of his first two starts - but had begun to right things, with a record of 1-2, 3.75, when he had to go on the injured list in early May after 6 starts. The cause was elbow tendinitis. He had a cyst in his wrist in August, and apart from one lone start on September 1st, it cost him the remainder of the season. Overall, he made 22 starts with a 4.28 ERA and 128 punch outs in just 107 1/3rd innings. His record was 7-5, 4.28. On February 4, 2020, he joined Mookie Betts in heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster trade designed to get Boston under the luxury tax threshold. In return, the Dodgers sent P Kenta Maeda and OF Alex Verdugo, while loading up to make an another run at a championship. On July 4, 2020, just as training camp was resuming after the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he announced he would sit out the season, in the interest of his health and that of his family.

Sources: 2006-2007 Baseball Almanacs, Vanderbilt Stats, The Baseball Cube, Collegiate Baseball All-Americans

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 5-time AL All-Star (2010-2012, 2014 & 2015)
  • 2012 AL Cy Young Award
  • 2018 AL Comeback Player of the Year Award
  • 2-time AL ERA Leader (2012 & 2015)
  • AL Wins Leader (2012)
  • AL Winning Percentage Leader (2012)
  • 2-time AL Innings Pitched Leader (2014 & 2016)
  • AL Strikeouts Leader (2014)
  • AL Complete Games Leader (2013)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 6 (2010, 2012, 2014-2016 & 2018)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (2012)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (2010-2012,¸& 2014-2016)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 5 (2011, 2012 & 2014-2016)
  • Won one World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2018

AL Cy Young Award
2011 2012 2013
Justin Verlander David Price Max Scherzer

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler: "Price won't opt out of contract with Red Sox", mlb.com, October 31, 2018. [1]
  • Ted Berg: "Postseason redemption sweet for David Price: 'This is why I came to Boston'", USA Today Sports, October 29, 2018. [2]
  • Alyson Footer: "Price shuts down doubters with stellar Series: Veteran lefty collects two wins with 1.98 ERA in Fall Classic", mlb.com, October 29, 2018. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "David Price embraces Boston: 'I like challenges'", USA Today Sports, March 7, 2016. [4]
  • Bob Nightengale: "David Price, once despised in Boston, now beloved after World Series performance in Game 2", USA Today, October 24, 2018. [5]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Free from the grind of Boston, David Price loving his new life with Dodgers: 'I couldn't be happier'", USA Today, March 1, 2020. [6]

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