Price, regarded by many within the industry as the top pitching prospect in the minors, is now 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA, .215 opponents' batting average, 38-to-12 K/W ratio and 1.04 WHIP in seven Double-A starts with the Biscuits. He improves to 9-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 75-to-19 K/W ratio in 13 starts overall this year, as he has made a flawless transition from the college ranks to the pros.
In fact, Price, the first overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Vanderbilt University, has made pitching in the minors look easy so far in his debut professional season. The lanky southpaw began the year in the Florida State League, where he was a perfect 4-0 in six starts for the Vero Beach Devil Rays. He looked absolutely dominant at times, overmatching young hitters with his mid-90s fastball and excellent command. He posted a 1.82 ERA, 37-to-7 K/W ratio and .220 opponents' batting average.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been reportedly searching for bullpen help, and have recently been linked to George Sherrill and Arthur Rhodes. However, instead of incurring the cost of acquiring a two-month relief rental or offering up prospects for a reliever whose value is as high as Sherrill's, the Rays will most likely look for internal reinforcements. Price is perhaps the missing link for Tampa Bay as the club attempts to make its first postseason appearance. He has the command, pitching sense and overall stuff—far beyond his years—to get hitters out at the highest level, evident by his dominant showing in spring training against the New York Yankees.
Whether or not Price will come up as a power late-innings reliever or take a spot in the Rays' starting rotation (if a Tampa Bay starter should get hurt or falter), it is almost certain that he will have an impact when rosters are expanded in September, if not sooner. He is gifted enough on the mound to make a significant contribution. Thus, it would not be a surprise to see him turn into this year's version of Joba Chamberlain, who added a huge boost to push the Yankees into the postseason down the stretch last season.
With every stellar outing, Price moves closer to pitching for the Rays at Tropicana Field.