David Price has MLB's best K/BB ratio, at 9.67, which is almost three times better than the K/BB ratio he posted in his Cy Young season (3.47). That's a really good K/BB ratio, and predictably, Price is among the league leaders in xFIP. The big difference between the two seasons is HR/FB ratio. Price's HR/FB ratio sits at 15.8 percent, which is the 14th worst mark in the majors--almost double what it was last year (8.6 percent) and five percentage points higher than it was in 2012 (10.5 percent). So, clearly Price has had some bad luck with the long ball, and that's reflected in the big discrepancy between his FIP and xFIP (3.51 and 2.52, respectively).
Nothing here is new or all that interesting. It looks like Price has just had some bad luck with the long ball. Judged on xFIP, he's one of the top 10 pitchers in the AL, and over his career his FIP and xFIP marks have been almost identical, which is the case for most pitchers other than Tom Glavine. So there's every reason to expect Price's HR/FB to stabilize and his performance to improve.
A look at ESPN's home run tracker shows that Price has not been giving up a bunch of wallscrapers. Only two of the nine HRs he's allowed have been categorized as "Just Enough", meaning the ball cleared the wall by less than 10 vertical feet. The rest would have been HRs no matter what park Price was pitching in.
So what I'm wondering is whether Price's abnormally high HR/FB ratio is as flukey as it looks. Do we think it will stabilize back to his career norms and league averages? Or is this a product of what appears to be a change in Price's pitching approach and a decline in fastball velocity (that is, he's attacking the zone with more "hittable" fastballs)? Any thoughts. Is this just a small sample size phenomenon? Has Price just been unlucky? Has he just made a bad pitch that got blasted here and there, a problem he'll correct going forward? Or is his there something else about Price (attacking the zone, decline in fastball velocity, etc.) that might be contributing to his longball problems and might indicate this could be a problem for Price throughout the season?
Thanks for your input.