- Full name David Taylor Price
- Born 08/26/1985 in Murfreesboro, TN
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Vanderbilt
- Debut 09/14/2008
Drafted in the 1st round (1st overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007 (signed for $5,600,000).
View Draft ReportPrice entered his junior season as the best amateur player in the country and reinforced his reputation with a third dominant season. He has the complete portfolio of athleticism, stuff, makeup and a proven track record. He posted a 0.43 ERA with 151 strikeouts in 65 innings as a high school senior and would have been a high-round pick if it hadn't for signability questions. The Dodgers made a run at signing him after drafting him in the 19th round in 2004, but Price stuck to his Vanderbilt commitment and stepped into the rotation right away, earning Freshman All-America honors. Price attends Vanderbilt on a financial scholarship, rather than a baseball ride, and he is lauded for his positive, team-first attitude. He took two tours with USA Baseball's college national team, including a 5-1, 0.20 stint in 2006 when he led Team USA to a gold medal in the World University Games in Cuba and was named Summer Player of the Year. His fastball/slider/changeup repertoire is unmatched among amateurs. He pitches at 90-91 mph, but the late life, arm-side run and finish of his fastball make it a weapon. He can dial it up to 95, seemingly whenever he needs to. His slider touches 87 with hard, late, sharp bite, grading as a 70 pitch on the 20-80 scale. His changeup is deceptive, and a third plus pitch. He spots all three of his pitches to all four quadrants of the strike zone, adds and subtracts and carves up hitters with efficiency and ease. His arm action and delivery are excellent. Price was an honorable mention all-Tennessee selection in basketball in high school, an indication of his athletic ability, which helps him field his position well and repeat his delivery. He profiles, conservatively, as a No. 2 starter, while some scouts see him as a true No. 1. The Devil Rays are expected to make him the top pick.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Few players have lived up to the hype, both before and after being the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, better than Price. The Rays targeted the Vanderbilt ace in the fall of 2006 and never had reason to alter their decision to go with the lefthander on draft day in June 2007. He won Baseball America's College Player of the Year and the Golden Spikes awards as a junior after going 11-1, 2.63 and leading NCAA Division I with 194 strikeouts in 133 innings. Price signed at the Aug. 15 deadline, getting an $8.5 million big league contract that included a backloaded $5.6 million bonus, which pushed his pro debut back to 2008. Elbow tenderness in spring training further delayed his first outing until May 22, but he showed no ill effects by going 12-1, 2.30 between three minor league levels. After helping Triple-A Durham reach the International League playoffs, Price joined the Rays in September. He dazzled the Yankees in relief in his first appearance and held the Orioles hitless for five innings in his first start, but the best was yet to come. Added to the playoff roster, he won Game Two and saved Game Seven in the American League Championship Series, then recorded the final seven outs in Tampa Bay's victory in the second game of the World Series. Price rates off the charts with his stuff, athleticism and disposition, a package that should make him one of the premier pitchers in the majors. He has two plus-plus pitches with a mid-90s fastball and a biting slider. His fastball has outstanding movement with late armside run. His slider is reminiscent of John Smoltz's with its depth and 87-88 mph velocity. He blew away the Red Sox with both pitches in the ALCS clincher, generating several awkward swings. His changeup also can be an above-average offering with impressive deception and fade. Price has the ability to add and subtract velocity from his pitches, and he uses the entire strike zone to his advantage. He receives as much praise for his makeup and humility as he does for his pitching, which is saying a lot. He was unfazed when asked to pitch in pressure situations in the playoffs. Price lacks full confidence in his changeup. He didn't need that third pitch in college and the minors, but must trust it more and improve its depth to succeed as a big league ace. He never has encountered failure, so he has yet to show he can make the necessary adjustments when the inevitable occurs, but he should be up to the challenge. Extremely goal-oriented, Price wants to join the Rays rotation to open the 2009 season. He has the talent and work ethic to make that happen. Even if he falls short, it won't be long before he's part of Tampa Bay's rotation for good, and he eventually should become the No. 1 starter on the talented staff. It would be no surprise if he moved to the forefront of the game's elite pitchers at a pace similar to that of Tim Lincecum.
The Rays pegged Price as the first overall pick in the 2007 draft in October 2006 and he never budged from their plans. Price shattered most of Vanderbilt's pitching records while going 11-1, 2.63 and leading NCAA Division I with 194 strikeouts in 133 innings as a junior. He led the Commodores to their first-ever Southeastern Conference regular-season championship and No. 1 ranking, and he received numerous individual honors, including the Baseball America College Player of the Year and the Golden Spikes awards. He signed on the Aug. 15 deadline, agreeing to an $8.5 million big league contract that included a backloaded $5.6 million bonus. Price is the complete package with outstanding athleticism, stuff and makeup. His fastball has great late life and armside run while sitting in the low 90s and touching 95 mph. He throws a plus-plus slider that reaches 87 mph and has a late, sharp bite. His changeup is also a plus pitch with excellent deception and fade. He uses the entire strike zone and is adept at adding or subtracting velocity with all of his pitches to keep hitters completely baffled. There's no knock on Price. While he still needs to make the adjustment to pro ball, Tampa Bay doesn't see him having any difficulties after he fared well against tough competition in the SEC and with Team USA. He has yet to make his pro debut and spent just two weeks in instructional league before returning to Vanderbilt to work toward his sociology degree, but that shouldn't prevent him from moving rapidly through the system. He has legitimate No. 1 stuff, and he has a deeper repertoire and more polish than Scott Kazmir. Price likely will break into pro ball at high Class A Vero Beach or Double-A, and he could reach Tampa before the end of the season.
Minor League Top Prospects
Price dialed his fastball into the high 90s in spring training, but a sore elbow prevented him from making his first pro start until May 22. The No. 1 overall pick in 2007 began at high Class A Vero Beach and reached the majors after just 19 pro starts. He's a good bet to make the Rays' postseason roster. Price works off an electric fastball that sits at 93-96 mph and can touch 97-98. It's a plus-plus offering, as is his hard 85-87 mph slider, a swing-and-miss pitch with sharp break and tilt. He also has an average changeup, though he rarely used it in the minors. At times he sells the changeup well with his arm speed, while at other times he throws it too hard. He has clean arm action and a sound, athletic delivery that he repeats easily. Price has good control and only needs to fine-tune his command and mix in his changeup more effectively to become a true No. 1 starter.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the American League in 2014
- Rated Best Slider in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009
- Rated Best Fastball in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the Florida State League in 2008
- Rated Best Slider in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008