Bay Rays Indians BaseballDavid Price began the season in the minor leagues for a couple of reasons. At the time, the team spoke about the need to improve his changeup and increase his command of the strike zone.

Just as important was the need to limit the number of pitches Price throws this season.

Some call it “The Verducci Effect” after Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, who first wrote about the risk of young pitchers (under 25) throwing more than 30 innings over their previous career-high.

The Rays use a slight variation, in that they try to limit their pitchers to a 20% increase over the previous season. Last season, Price logged 129.1 innings between the minors and the Rays (including the postseason). A 20% increase would allow Price to throw 155-160 innings in 2009.

After last night’s season debut, Price has now thrown 37.2 innings. If Price remains in the rotation for the rest of the season, he will make 22-23 additional starts for which he will be limited to about 120 innings or about 5.5 innings per start.

In other words, expect Price to be limited to 90-100 pitches per start and on most nights he will be out of the game after 5 or 6 innings.

Of course, none of this considers any postseason play. If the Rays are true to their word…and this is an organization that rarely deviates from the script…Price may not be part of the rotation for any potential postseason action.

If Price has already thrown 155-160 innings by the end of the regular season, expect him to be moved to the bullpen should the Rays make the postseason. The Rays just aren’t an organization that is willing to risk too much of the future for the chance to win in the present.

 
 

6 Comments

  1. In fact, I would add that fans should expect them to shutdown Price completely the final weeks of the season if he’s near his inning count. They’ve done it before, they’ll do it again. I would also expect some missed starts here and there. But, you’re right. They’re not going to let this horse go.

  2. Joe D. says:

    Totally agreed, if David Price stays healthy, and stays up in the big leagues all year, I think they will do what they’ve done with Kaz and Shields, and shut Price down in September, maybe even August if it looks like we are in playoff contention, and put him in the ‘pen to get used to bullpen work for the post season.

  3. Gus says:

    When (if) Kazmire comes back, it seems to me that if the Rays are serious about winning in 2009, they’d seriously have to look at Price pulling a “Joba” and finishing games and not starting them. He showed he could do it last year; it would keep their objective of limiting innings down and solve the team’s most glaring and obvious weakness — a bullpen of mediorce soft-tossers who struggle in close games. I give Maddon all the credit for gtting through last season with the lack of a closer. But with Balfour turning into a pumpkin this year, you need somebody who can strike people out ans finish games. As a starter,the knoown pitch count will encourage teams to work him and get into the bullpen.

  4. Jason says:

    So if(keyword IF) we make the playoffs,who would our four starters be?Sheilds,Kaz(if he ever comes back),Sonny(Davis),and Niemann(another option for Davis)?That really isnt that good n my opinion.If he starts for the rest of the regular season,He better start in the playoffs if we make it!I am getting tired of hearing pitch count!Lincecum threw 200 innings last year,where is his injury?Greinke threw a lot of innings last year at age 24,his arm hasen’t fallen off yet!Anyways I don’t see Tampa making the playoffs.Very bad start pitching wise and Aki was just lost.

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