I visited Durham Bulls Athletic Park this weekend, which gave me a chance to see former Oriole Chris Richard belt a two-run homer and former Red Sox-turned Expos-turned Nationals-turned Brewers-turned Blue Jays-turned Columbus Clippers pitcher Tomo Ohka pick up a win after six innings of controlled, mostly less-than-90 MPH pitching. (Ohka, who was once referenced on The Simpsons, is the Greg Maddux of the minors.)
Columbus, the Indians’ AAA affiliate, defeated Durham, the Rays’ affiliate, 10-6. Sunday’s real story, however, was on the mound for the home team – David Price, baseball’s No. 2 prospect. (Who’s No. 1 again? Some catcher from Georgia Tech.)
Price, whom the O’s will see often, struggled through 3.2 innings of work and took the loss after giving up six runs – two of which were earned – on four hits, three walks, and one strikeout (box score). Price’s velocity was strong, with fastballs that topped out in the 96-97 MPH range; Columbus typically tallied hits on his off-speed stuff, which rested in the upper-80s.
The runs surrendered by Price could be excused, in part, by the poor defense being played behind him; two first-inning errors allowed Columbus to load the bases and score four unearned. More concerning regarding Price’s performance were the lefty’s struggles to hold runners on base. Columbus stole two bases on Price and made a deliberate effort to send runners – either for stolen bases or running starts – against the 6’6″ prospect.
Price’s struggles to hold runners with his long frame reminded me in part of Daniel Cabrera’s problems in that regard, though as a lefty Price has less of an excuse. (Note: That’s the only time you’ll see Daniel Cabrera and David Price in the same sentence unless it’s to say, “Daniel Cabrera is no David Price.”) Here’s hoping Brian Roberts can wreak some havoc on the base paths when Price gets the call from the Rays.