Price starting to live up to first round billing

When David Price signed a six-year, $8.5 million contract that included a $5.6 million signing bonus in August of 2007, the expectations for the youngster immediately went through the roof.

After appearing in five games with one start in 2008, Price struggled some in 2009 while also flashing the brilliance that Rays fans were hoping for. He won 10 games that season, but he also gave up 17 home runs in 23 starts and his ERA topped out at 4.42. His main issues were commanding his pitches inside the strike zone and dropping his arm angle when he threw his changeup, which led to hitters taking him out of the yard.

When the Rays traded Scott Kazmir mid-season last year, they had high hopes that Price would eventually emerge as their ace in 2010. But heading into the season, the club was still unsure whether or not he could be a true No. 1 because he hadn’t shown the consistency that all great front of the rotation pitchers have.

Until now, that is.

Price still has command issues, but after dominating the Blue Jays for six innings of one-run ball on Wednesday night, it’s clear that he’s starting to put everything together. To date, he’s 9-2 with a 2.23 ERA and has 57 strikeouts. His six home runs allowed are also down a bit from last season and his WHIP is a solid 1.17.

Most importantly, the Rays are currently in first place in the AL East, ahead of the defending World Champion Yankees and the always-contending Red Sox. Price leads Tampa in wins and ERA, which is huge for a club that was desperately in need of someone in the rotation to step up and be the No. 1 guy. It’s still early, but both Price and the Rays are off to fantastic starts in 2010.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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