For most of his career, Price has been one of the better starters in all of baseball. Prior to joining the Red Sox, Price secured the 2012 Cy Young award, achieved two second-place Cy Young finishes and picked up five All-Star appearances while maintaining a career 3.09 ERA. When he signed his seven-year $207 million mega-deal with the Red Sox, the Fenway faithful imagined Price spearheading Boston to many deep postseason runs.
But time has dampened that excitement. It’s been two years since Price came to Fenway and in that stretch, Price has yet to be truly dominant. Now, at 32-years-old and with a little gray in his beard, it may be fair to say that this could be Price’s last chance to re-establish himself as a true ace before time erodes his talent.
It’s a stretch to say Price has completely floundered in Boston. In 2016, he was worth 4.4 fWAR, or about $35 million using the standard WAR to dollars calculation. Last year, Price’s ERA was a strong 3.38 in a season significantly shortened by injuries.
If you were looking for a sign that Price is back, his first two starts have opened the door for such optimism. Price has yet to allow a run through 14 innings this season and he seemed to be in full command in both of his outings.
There are all the normal cautionary warnings about small samples, in fact, they should be heightened based on the level of competition, but Price has looked like Price. He may not reach the heights of his Cy Young campaign in 2012 when his fastball averaged 95.5 mph, but a conservative projection would have him being at least as good as he was in 2016.
If healthy, it’d hardly be going out on a limb to expect five wins above replacement from the southpaw with the possibility that he could eclipse that mark by a decent margin. He’s one of the biggest x-factors on this list, but he’s probably the safest bet at least approach his potential.