By acquiring David Price, the Detroit Tigers have put together a starting pitching rotation that includes the past three Cy Young winners, plus the current American League ERA champion. The Tigers' starting rotation now features the following pitchers:
- Max Scherzer, current American league Cy Young winner
- Justin Verlander, 2011 American league Cy Young winner and Most Valuable Player
- David Price, 2012 American League Cy Young winner
- Anibal Sanchez, current American League ERA champion
- Rick Porcello, All Star nominee, 2014
Exactly how good is Price? Here are his numbers:
Over three seasons, from 2012- 2014, Price ranks 6th in the American league in fWAR, fourth in ERA, fourth in FIP, fourth in innings pitched, fifth in strikeouts, and third in wins.
For the 2014 season, Price has pitched more innings than any pitcher in the major leagues. He is fifth in the American league in strikeouts per nine innings, He ranks third in the league in walk ratio, and sixth in fangraphs' Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Simply put, he is one of the best pitchers in the game of baseball.
Price, who will be 29 in August, was selected in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, and the first overall player chosen in that draft. After six full seasons in the major leagues, the left handed starter has four all star appearances including starting the game in 2010, a Cy Young award in 2012, was runner up in the Cy Young voting in 2010, and has been on the MVP ballot. He even earned a save in game 7 of the ALCS in 2008, sending the Rays to their first appearance in the World Series.
Price is also a workhorse, not only leading the league in innings pitched this season, but averaging over 200 innings in the past four seasons. In the past five years, including this season, he has never had an ERA higher than 3.49, never had a WHIP top 1.19, and has been among the American league's elite every season.
The Tigers had arguably the best starting rotation in the major leagues in 2013 by almost any measure. They set the all time record for strikeouts in a season by one team. This year, they have struggled to maintain that lofty status, Although the Tiger rotation leads the American league in fWAR, they rank fifth in the league in ERA. Price's 3.11 ERA is currently the best on the team, just ahead of Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello.
Price throws two fastballs at 94–97 mph, touching 100 mph, a four-seamer and a two-seamer. His two-seam sinker is his main pitch against right-handed and left-handed hitters. He also throws a cutter that averages 90 mph, used mainly against right-handers. He also uses a changeup against right-handed hitters only (83–86) and a spike curveball at 78–81.
To put things into perspective in the reality show that is the Detroit Tigers today, Price will almost surely replace Max Scherzer in the Tigers' rotation next year. Realistically, he was the only player who was capable of doing that, and who might have been available. Dave Dombrowski has once again managed to pull off the impossible. No doubt, the Tigers will make a run at keeping Price past the 2015 season, which is his final season of eligibility and he is expected to earn about $ 20 million or so for the year. But for now, the Tigers once again have the best starting pitching rotation in the American league, if not in the game of baseball.