Hindsight is said to be 20/20. But even with the benefit of hindsight, some decisions still aren't crystal clear. Lets get this straight ahead of time. David Price has been a huge part of the Rays success dating all the way back to 2008 when the Rays were desperately searching for a closer as the regular season came to an end. He has started an All Star Game and finished in the top 3 for the Cy Young award. But knowing what you know now, would you still draft him at the top of the 2007 MLB Draft?
Buster Posey is often mentioned as the catcher the Rays missed out on, which is an accurate assessment. But while there wasn't much debate, there were still whispers that the Rays should draft catcher Matt Wieters out of Georgia Tech with the #1 overall pick the previous year. With Price bursting onto the scene in the 2008 playoffs, and pitching great the past few seasons, there haven't been many complaints with the Rays decision. Price has accounted for 8.8 WAR the past two seasons, and seemingly will continue to match that output moving forward.
But given the strengths and deficiencies of the Rays, how much would an elite catcher like Matt Wieters bring to the table? In the past two seasons, Wieters has accumulated 7.2 WAR, but 5.0 of that was this past season. Considering WAR doesn't provide an accurate value for elite defensive catchers, it figures Wieters is worth slightly more than the 5.0 WAR he posted last season.
I'm concerned that Price can't take it to the next level. He has an elite fastball, but lacks a true "plus" secondary pitch. People will cite his strong changeup based on specific saber metrics, but much of that success is because he has such a great fastball that he throws a majority of the time. So when he throws an average changeup, which is supposed to look like a fastball, he gets decent results. But make no mistake, his changeup is not a "plus" pitch. His slider was once considered an elite pitch, but one has to wonder whether the Rays asked him to limit it, as the Rays aren't too fond of sliders because of injury risk. The point is, how much better will he get?
On the flip side, as mentioned earlier, Matt Wieters just posted a career best WAR, and appears to be trending upwards. A middle of the order, switch hitting catcher that plays top notch defense. Where do I sign up? There's no loser in this debate, as both would be significant contributors to World Series contenders. But where do Rays fans stand? Disregarding current contracts, are you picking Price or Wieters?