Red Sox 2019 Report Cards: Left-handed pitcher David Price
Evaluating the 2019 season of Boston Red Sox lefty David Price and assigning a grade based on how his production lived up to expectations.
A glance at Boston Red Sox lefty David Price‘s 2019 stats might lead you to believe that he had the worst season of his career. That’s simply not the case, at least if we credit him for what he produced when healthy.
Every Red Sox starting pitcher got off to a slow with the organization opting to reduce their spring training workload to preserve their arms for the long haul. Price was no exception, allowing four runs in each of his first two outings, both of which resulted in a Red Sox loss during their brutal west coast trip to open the season.
Price followed that by allowing three runs or fewer in 14 of his next 15 starts. The veteran lefty was one of the league’s best pitchers during that stretch, entering the All-Star break with a 7-2 record and 3.24 ERA. That put him on pace for his best season since he arrived in Boston.
His season would quickly unravel shortly after the break due to a cyst on his pitching wrist that altered his range of motion and prevented him from executing his pitches. He found it difficult to throw a breaking ball and suffered a loss of command while attempting to pitch through the ailment.
It showed in the results. Price posted a brutal 10.58 ERA in four starts after the cyst developed, culminating in a seven-run shellacking in Yankees Stadium. He was placed on the injured list soon after that August 4 appearance in the Bronx and didn’t return until September.
The Red Sox hoped to treat Price’s wrist with a cortisone shot but the plan backfired. Price lasted only two innings in his return before heading back to the IL for the remainder of the season.
Price finished the season 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA, and 1.31 WHIP in 107 1/3 innings. It was his worst statistical season since he was a rookie with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Price was on his way to an excellent season until the cyst on his wrist derailed him. He never should have tried to continue pitching through it when his mechanics were clearly hindered by it. His numbers would look much better if he sat out during that rough patch instead of trying to battle through it.
Still, availability is a skill and it’s not one of Price’s strengths. He’s made only 63 starts over the last three seasons and tossed fewer than 110 innings in two of the last three.
I’m not going to hold it against him that his numbers went in the tank when he tried pitching through an injury. While he would have deserved a higher grade for the pace he was on before the cyst, he has to be downgraded a bit for missing significant time again.
With three years and $96 million remaining on his contract, Price isn’t going anywhere. He hasn’t lived up to his deal for the majority of his time in Boston and his inability to stay healthy makes him too risky for other teams to take a gamble on him. Unless the Red Sox eat a significant portion of his contract, he’s virtually untradeable.
Price had surgery last month to remove the cyst and should be ready to go by spring training. If he can return to pre-injury form then he should be primed for a bounce-back year but his recent track record leaves us wondering if the 34-year old will ever hold up for a full season again.