“Hey, that’s not one of our pitchers!” is something you might find yourself saying on Tuesday evening when the Tigers take on the Yankees in the second game of their four game set. And you’d sort of be right. David Price will be pitching for the Tigers and he hasn’t even thrown a pitch for the Tigers in his career. He’s new to the fold, courtesy of last minute deal that sent Austin Jackson, Drew Smyly, and Willy Adames to various corners of the country. Let’s get to know his game.
David Price has been very good for his entire career. He’s about to turn 29 years old and is in his 5th full season in the big leagues and has basically been a 4.0 WAR guy every year since 2010. He’s durable and pitches deep into games. He went to Vandy, so that makes him extra Tigers-y.
Price is having his best season to date. Don’t let anyone tell you differently because his ERA isn’t as low as 2012. Price is running a career best strikeout rate (27%) and a career low walk rate (3.3%). He’s giving up a few too many home runs, but they aren’t killing him by any stretch of the imagination. He’s sporting a 3.11 ERA, 2.94 FIP, and 2.73 xFIP over 170 innings of work. That’s a 3.9 fWAR and 3.0 RA9-WAR. Anyway you slice it, he’s been very good this year.
Price figures to be just about as good as he’s been all year for the next two months according to both Steamer and ZiPS projections. They expect a small amount of negative regression in the strikeout and walk rates but a little positive regression in the home run department, so his overall ERA and FIP numbers look pretty steady the rest of the way.
Price uses three fastball variants; four-seam, sinker, and cutter; and calls on a changeup and curveball as well. He’s around 94 with the four-seamer and sinker and drops down to about 89-90 with the cutter. The change works around 86 and the breaking ball shows up in the low 80s. He doesn’t have a significant platoon split this season, but has a pretty standard 40 points wOBA split for his career, which you would expect from a power lefty with a solid changeup. He’s very good against lefties but he’s also very good against righties.
This is a slightly superfluous post because you guys know who David Price is. You know he was the Rays’ ace. You’ve seen him dominate. He pitches deep into games and he’s extremely effective from the left side. He’s probably a win or a win and half better than Smyly the rest of the way and not only is that going to show up directly, but he should take some pressure off the bullpen and offer few chances for the lesser arms out there to get into the game considering that he’s averaging about 7.4 innings per start.
Ultimately, Price is a known quantity and it should be a lot of fun to watch him pitch for the Tigers.