Now that it looks like the Rays have decided to start David Price in the minor leagues, many are wondering how long it will be until Price makes the permanent jump to the big leagues. But just like many were surprised to learn that Price wasn’t a lock for the opening day roster, many will be surprised if Price is not the first starting pitcher promoted from Durham.
We are starting to wonder if Wade Davis will be the Rays’ first choice to join the Rays rotation at some point this season.
Price and Davis rank among the top pitching prospects in baseball. But while Price has a stronger pedigree and a higher upside, Davis may be the more polished pitcher right now.
Earlier this week we learned that Price was not only still working on his third pitch (the changeup), but he may have lost the touch on his second pitch (the slider). Meanwhile, Davis entered camp and looked impressive from day 1.
There are also concerns about how many innings the Rays want to put on Price’s arm this season. Price only worked 129 innings last season, while Davis may be ready for the workload that comes from a major league rotation, having worked 160 inning in 2008. In fact, Price has only worked 383 innings in four years since high school, while Davis already has 608 innings as a pro. Price has 14 starts above single-A. Davis has 42.
Many have speculated (us included) that Davis could fill the same role in 2009 that Price filled last season. That is, a late-season call-up that is used out of the bullpen. But if Davis is the more polished pitcher and continues to prove that he is ready, he very well may be in the rotation by July and Price will once again be a late-season call-up working out of the bullpen.
David Price in the Rays rotation in 2008…What once seemed like a foregone conclusion now has a chance of being delayed until 2010.