The Baseball Mystery That Is David Price

Before the start of the 2009 fantasy baseball season, much of the speculation revolved around David Price. With an incredible prowess for strikeouts and a nice late-2008 stint in the bullpen for the Rays, everyone was high on price going into the season.

Price was a popular sleeper pick in many fantasy leagues, and those who drafted him were let down once revealed by the Rays that Price would spend April and May in the minor leagues. In late May, Price was called up to the majors, and owners were once again thrilled with the prospects a pitcher like Price offered. At this point, Price has probably reversed the enthusiasm so many of his owners had just two months ago.

At this point in the major league baseball season, it’s safe to say that Price has been a disappointment compared to the expectations that many GMs placed upon this pitcher. Every young pitcher generally goes through his ups and downs, and Price has been no different. His biggest pitfall thus far has been his control, as Price has an abnormally high WHIP (1.63), due to the fact that he walks over 0.5 batters per inning pitched. The baseball world is wondering about Price’s fate from here, and many fantasy general managers are unsure as to what they should do.

If you’re in a keeper league, there’s absolutely no reason to let go of Price, since he’ll surely be a stud for years to come. If you’re in a 10-team league or smaller, there are probably better options on waivers unless your league uses a lot of roster spots. If you do decide to keep him, you have to know when to start him, because that could make or break your fantasy week.

There are others who swear by Price’s split stats, claiming to know exactly when to start him. Price’s numbers are immeasurably better at home than on the road. His 4-1 and 2.67 stats at home compared to his 0-3 and 8.20 stats on the road speak to this.

On the other hand, Price’s opponents on the road have definitely been more difficult than his opponents in Tampa Bay. Price has faced teams like Colorado, Texas, the White Sox, and Toronto on the road – all difficult matchups – while facing easier opponents at home (only Philadelphia and the Angels as far as difficult ones go).

Another interesting split is his day/night stats. In 5 starts during the day, he’s 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. But in 7 starts at night, he’s 1-4 with a 6.83 ERA and 1.83 WHIP.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, Price should really only be used as a spot starter for right now. If he’s pitching at home or he’s pitching during the day, I’d start him. If he’s not, then let him sit on your bench. You don’t need one bad start to destroy your ERA and WHIP for the entire week.

Regardless of where he pitches, Price’s WHIP is on the high side and will hurt most teams. This has to do with his shaky control and the fact that he’s issuing many walks. To make up for it, his strikeout count is very high, as he’s basically a guarantee to average a strikeout for each inning pitched.

While this pitcher has been a letdown in many senses, fantasy GMs are still clinging to this prospect, hoping to see a turn for the better.

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