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May 25, 2017 at 4:54 PM

The Write-Up: David Price's second rehab start


PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- David Price made his second rehab start on Wednesday evening at McCoy Stadium against Reds affiliate Louisville. Here’s The Write-Up on his start.

Age: 31
Height: 6-5
Weight: 215
Throws: Left
How Acquired: Free agent, Dec. 2015

Line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R/3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K; 89 pitches, 61 strikes (68%); 14/20 first-pitch strikes (70%); 9 swing-and-misses.

The plan for David Price in this second rehab outing was to get in 85-90 pitches, ideally spread over five or six innings of work. Price instead ended up laboring through 3 2/3 innings to the line you see above.

Going into a rehab outing like this, I’m not necessarily concerned with results. There were two criteria I was looking for to determine whether Price is ready to return to the majors: Sustained arm strength and command of his arsenal. Unfortunately, I saw neither.

The truth about David Price is that his stuff is really not that special and he relies heavily on his command. Of his four-pitch mix—fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup—his only above-average pitch is his mid-90s fastball when he’s able to command it. The secondaries are nothing special and average, at best, across the board. What allows Price to be so effective—when healthy at least—is the above-average fastball in conjunction with his command of all four pitches.

In this outing, Price used all four pitches. He sat 92-94 mph with the fastball and topped out at 95 once. He sat 87-89 mph with the cutter, 82-85 mph with the changeup, and 78-83 mph with the curve. He maintained this velocity until his final 15 pitches, at which point he sat more at 91-92 mph and also threw his curveball and changeup at slightly lower velocities. While his arm strength out of the gate was encouraging, the drop in velocity as he hit 75 pitches suggests that Price’s arm strength is not all the way back yet.

Additionally, the command was not where it needs to be. This is understandable due to how long he has missed due to injury. He was consistently around the plate, but was wild within the zone, missing his spots and failing to locate consistently. Price left some very hittable pitches up in the zone and couldn't put hitters away with two strikes, resulting in prolonged at-bats that helped run up his pitch count so quickly.

To me, Price has not yet shown either that he can maintain his arm strength over 85-100 pitches, through 5-6 innings of work, or that he has his trademark command, which he relies upon to be successful. For that reason, if I were making the decision, I would have Price make at least one more rehab start to continue building his arm strength and improving his command, although the Red Sox have apparently decided to call him up.

Photo credit: David Price by Kelly O'Connor.

Chaz Fiorino is Assistant Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @cbfiorino.

 
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