Thinking about David Price
Here's my take on David Price, the Vanberbilt lefty widely expected to be the first overall pick in the 2007 draft.
He's really good.
Let's see. What do you look for in a pitcher?
Velocity? He hits 90-92, can get up to 94-95 if he wants to. Check.
Movement on his fastball? His heater isn't straight. Check.
Breaking stuff? His slider is very strong and rated a plus pitch according to scouts. Check.
Changes speeds? His changeup is at least average and above average according to some scouts. Check.
Command? He's walked just 29 guys in 114 innings this year, and scouts praise his command. He sometimes has location problems with in the zone, but it is not a major issue most of the time. Check.
Performance? He's 10-0, 2.76 with a 164/29 K/BB ratio in 114 innings, 84 hits allowed, just one homer given up all season. Check.
Size and athleticism? He's 6-5, 215 pounds and a fine overall athlete. Check.
Intelligence and makeup? He's very bright and everyone raves about his work ethic, confidence, and approach to the game. Check.
Mechanics and delivery? Scouts like it, and it looks great on TV/video....smooth, repeatable, no wasted motion, nothing that stands out as a red flag or extra arm stress. Check.
To summarize, Price is polished, smart, throws hard, throws strikes, changes speeds well, is confident, is athletic, and has good mechanics. Sounds like a great pitching prospect to me. Frankly he has no major weakness that I can see, aside from the usual worries about workload leading to injury eventually. But there is nothing here indicating that his injury risk would be any higher than average for a pitcher in his cohort, and his athleticism and repeatable delivery may lower the risk to some extent.
If I were the D-Rays, this would be a no-brainer. . I'd draft him, sign him ASAP, and send him to Vero Beach for a few starts aside Wade Davis and Jacob McGee. . .can you imagine that rotation? I wouldn't push Price hard; he'd be on a pretty strict pitch count due to the long college season, but I'd like him to get his feet wet in pro ball, get three or four starts under his belt at least. Then he'd begin '08 in Double-A, move him up to Triple-A in July assuming he pitches well, then the majors in September. That would be the ideal plan.