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David Price: "My slider's gone away"

We recapped David Price's outing last night. 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's. R.J. mentioned that while Price was still good, his fastball command wasn't great. It took Price 58 pitches to get through the 2.1 innings, but overall Price was happy with his stuff.

"I had real good stuff. I've worked on my changeup so much, my slider's gone away. It's something I'm going to have to get back."

Well that's good to hear.  The changeup we've all been talking about is coming along, but did he just say "my slider's gone away and it's something I'm going to have to get back "? That is definitely not good to hear. The slider might be Price's most important pitch since it is his out pitch. If Price is going to be the dominant starter we all imagine he will be, he's going to need to get all three pitches working simultaneously. He can't just be a fastball/slider or a fastball/changeup pitcher. For those who are screaming for Price to start in the Majors, this should serve as a wakeup call. Price is admitting that he does not have all his pitches developed like he needs them need to be.

Look, Price is great. We're not arguing how awesome he is.  And yes, he is one of  2962630460_73a6177053_mediumthe five best starting pitchers in the organization, however, that does not mean we should throw his development out the window. I have no doubt that right now Price could be a nifty two pitch starter with a modest third offering, but without proper development we're risking the chance that that's all he'll ever be and really that would be a waste of talent. If at all possible, it is not smart to develop a pitcher at the major league level and the Rays have the option to avoid that. If the Rays front office feels that six weeks in Durham will make Price a complete pitcher, who can use and command three pitches effectively, then that is exactly what they should do.              

Silverman: One of the positive byproducts of depth with pitching is that it also reduces the temptation to move guys ahead in the organization just because a slot may be available. It allows us to fully develop our pitchers, so that it benefits both them and us. You need patience with prospects, they don’t all develop at the same pace.

People seem to be very short sighted on this issue. We need David Price in 2009; this is true, but we also need David Price to lead this rotation for the next 10 years. After James Shields, Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza are gone, we are still going to need Price to be that dominant figure in the rotation. You could say I hate the Rays and hate baseball, but if six weeks or so in Durham in 2009 can truly turn him in to a finished product, then six weeks in Durham in 2009 is what we should all be rooting for.


Photo By Dennis Adair