As it stands right now, the AL East looks as if it’s about to vastly improve with quality upgrades all up and down the Eastern seaboard.
New York and Boston continued to impress by enjoying another off-season spending spree, with Boston adding youth and exuberance, while New York took a more retro approach.
Baltimore and Toronto had their own little upgrade happenings as well, with Toronto making a ton of moves with their pitching staff, and Baltimore trying their best to give themselves a boost with some good old fashion experience.
But every year it’s the same thing isn’t it?
The O’s promise to get better only to finish last, the Jays show themselves to be a legit team only to stumble half way through, leaving us with the all too familiar epic battle between the Red Sox and the Yanks.
But wait, what about that other team? You know that team that almost won a world series in 2008? Yeah, what about the Tampa Bay Rays anyway?
Tampa comes into the 2010 season with a lot of high hopes, and a bit of a chip on their shoulder. Last year’s campaign was one that failed thanks in part to injuries, a lack of depth to handle said injuries, and a pitching staff that pitched well below their ability.
Jamie Shields, Matt Garza, and Jeff Niemann went a combined 32-30 with a 4.01 ERA; well below what most thought the World Series runner-ups would do.
Aside from Jeff Niemann, however, there was another bright spot in the rotation; one that has a huge ceiling for success, and in fantasy terms, has sleeper written all over him.
Meet David Price.
There was, for a while, a bit of a buzz going on with Price being touted as one of the biggest prospects for a breakout season, but as the off-season progresses, so does the sea change of story lines.
But let’s digress.
Last year wasn’t all that spectacular for Price, as some would say, but basing everything you do on the past is more of a trendy approach, rather an educated one.
Here are Price’s stats for 2009:
Price is the type of pitcher that has ace-like qualities just waiting to break through, and those are some of the things the fantasy scouts are looking at when they say Price has a huge sleeper potential.
He has a very diverse repertoire of pitches, and can either finesse you with his breaking throws or simply burn you with his speed.
Price has a dominating presence on the mound, and didn’t have too much difficulty digging himself out of trouble when he found it.
In addition to all of this, Price went under LASIK eye surgery this year; something he feels will improve his ability to find the strike zone.
A lot of people will initially shy away from Price because of his high ERA and WHIP, but a lot of that had to do with giving up 17 home runs and 54 walks—that equated to 3.8 BB/9— a lot of that should change this year.
Price is currently hovering around as a projected fifth rounder with a 187.0 ADP, and the 6’6’’ lefty could be a very wise pick for those of you looking to break away from the norm.
If you look at the rest of the Rays’ pitching staff: Shields (not a true ace), Garza (clock’s ticking), Niemann (good, but old), and Davis (too new to tell) Price is the only guy who makes for a fine pick earlier on in the draft.
If we expand the view, Price is the only sensible pick that Tampa has to offer, with a huge ceiling for success, and a sleeping giant waiting to emerge.
2010 Fantasy Baseball Projection, David Price: 25 GS, 135 IP, 120 SO, 60 BB, 3.83 ERA, 10-5, 8.0+ K/9