While those who were interested in drafting David Price for the 2017 fantasy baseball season couldn’t have been happy with his decision to sign back into the AL East as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox, there may not have been a pitcher more equipped to excel there then the former Cy Young winner. Having already put up ace numbers in the division with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, Price was a guy we made an exception for in terms of our stated desire never to invest in an AL East pitcher. At least early on in the 2016 season however, even Price seemed to be succumbing to the massive amount of offensive bats in the division as he posted horrible ERA’s both in March/April (5.76) and May (4.62). Still throughout his rough first half, we told anyone who would listen to buy low on Price given his track record and for the fact he was the victim of some awful BABIP luck. Price did rally in the second half (3.58 ERA) but the totality of his season was disappointing to say the least. Ultimately though, Price was an interesting case in that while his composite 3.99 ERA was well below his past ace standards, his .310 BABIP finished in the unlucky range. Corrected from the luck, Price’s FIP (3.60) and XFIP (3.52) ERA’s were a bit better. In addition, Price was actually a strikeout monster throughout the year as he punched out 228 batters in 230 innings for a K/9 of 8.92. Averaging nearly a K per inning as Price did last season is doubly impressive in the American League and that is especially true when in the AL East. His control remained excellent as always (1.96 BB/9) as well which then would make you wonder why Price struggled on the surface for the stretches that he did. The answer is somewhat found in the fact that Price’s 1.17 HR/9 rate was his career-high by a wide margin and that again can be blamed on the division and calling Fenway Park home. We have heard for awhile now that Price’s incredible ability to always be around the strike zone also leaves him susceptible to the long ball and his 2016 numbers back up this premise. Even more than bad BABIP luck, nothing can distort numbers more sharply than a home run issue. Unfortunately giving up more home runs is the literal “Price” that the guy has to pay for operating in such a tough pitcher’s environment. So in terms of 2017 fantasy baseball, Price should really be graded now as more of a 3.00-plus ERA guy then the mid-2.00 stud he was with the Rays. Price is still as good a strikeout artist as there is in the game and that keep him in the ace realm once again for 2017. Just a lower-rated ace than the top five pitcher he once was.
2017 PROJECTION: 19-9 3.33 ERA 1.19 WHIP 227 K