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Monday, May 9, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL TREND OR MIRAGE: DAVID PRICE SP BOSTON RED SOX

$217 million.  That was the still hard-to-believe and very staggering sum of money the Boston Red Sox handed out to ace SP David Price to anchor their rotation beginning in the 2016 season.  Having performed like a top tier power ace for many years in the cauldron of the rough AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, Price seemed to be immune to the stacked lineups that always make up the division.  Be that as it may, Price just put the finishing touches on another in a frighteningly bad string of ugly starts this season, yielding 6 runs in 4.2 innings Saturday against the New York Yankees.  The outing raised Price's ERA to a pathetic 6.75 and with a just as ugly 1.38 WHIP.  All of this being worth $217 million?  That is what all of Price's fantasy baseball owners are asking themselves this morning as they contemplate where to go from this point onward with Price and wonder if he can ever regain his ace form.  As we always do in Crisis Point, let's take a closer look and find out. 

There are a few key things to look at here with Price, some good and some bad.  On the positive side, Price is actually striking out batters at an 11.54 clip which would be a career-best by a mile if the season ended today.  With 53 whiffs in just 41.1 innings, Price's power stuff still is generating plenty of swings and misses.  In addition, Price has gotten quite a bit of bad BABIP luck as shown by his sky-high .373 mark there.  Considering that .300 is average, a whole bunch of cheap hits have fallen in for Price this season.  Don't believe it?  Price's FIP ERA is 2.93 and his XFIP is 2.94.  Those are ace ERA's and more in line with a typical Price season.  When you combine the poor BABIP luck and very high K Rate, one can see that Price really is not far from his usual self. 

On the flip side, we see trouble with Price's velocity as he has mostly been in the 91-92 range this season which is way down from his customary 95-97.  As a result, Price's margin for error is lessened and pitches that miss the mark get hit harder.  A 0.87 HR/9 is a bit elevated compared to his old norms and Price is also fighting his stuff as his BB/9 is rising sharply at 2.61.  So not all of Price's rough numbers are due to poor luck. 

When you put it all together, I side on the ledger that says to go and buy low on Price.  We see with the bad BABIP luck and the fact Price is still striking out guys at a high clip that his stuff is still very potent.  As far as the velocity, that generally improves as the weather heats up which it will start doing now in the Northeast.  Remember that Price's home runs were almost always in a dome so he didn't have to concern himself with weather as much.  The rough winters in Boston take longer to dissipate and now we should start seeing the velocity trend north.  Buy heavily. 

TREND OR MIRAGE:  MIRAGE

 

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