That didn’t take long.
After six starts with high Class A Vero Beach, Rays lefty David Price is headed to Double-A after the Rays promoted him to Montgomery. In 34 2/3 innings with Vero Beach, Price had a 1.82 ERA, 37 strikeouts and seven walks.
The promotion teams Price, the top overall pick in the 2007 draft, with fellow preseason top 100 prospects Jake McGee (No. 15) and Wade Davis (No. 17). That should form one of the most dominant and prospect-laden rotations in the minor leagues this season. All three pitchers can reach the mid- to high-90s with their fastballs, but McGee and Davis have been solid but not dominant Double-A.
McGee, 21, has 65 strikeouts (7.5 per nine innings), 37 walks (4.3 per nine) and a 3.94 ERA in 77 2/3 innings. Davis, 22, has 58 strikeouts (6.3 per nine), 34 walks (3.7 per nine) and a 4.03 ERA in 82 2/3 innings.
For McGee, the problems have usually come after the fourth inning. In innings one through four, McGee has a 2.41 ERA and a 54-20 K-BB mark in 56 innings. In innings five through seven, McGee’s ERA is 8.07 in 21 2/3 innings. Part of that could be due to the bullpen allowing an above-average number of its inherited runners from McGee to score, but McGee’s K-BB in those innings of 11-17 indicates that’s probably not the main source of his problems. That’s a small sample size but still noteworthy for a player who scouts believe could excel as a power reliever if his secondary stuff and control don’t develop.
Checking last year’s numbers with Vero Beach, McGee’s ERA took a hit after the fourth inning, but his strikeouts and walks remained similar. In innings one through four, McGee had a 1.85 ERA, 106 strikeouts and 31 walks in 82 2/3 innings. In innings five through seven, McGee’s ERA ballooned to 5.56 in 34 innings, though his 39-8 K-BB mark remained solid.