Bryan Price Has Fought Injury & Resistance On Path To Big Leagues
While Masterson has been a mainstay with the big league club since his arrival and Hagadone has spent parts of the past two years with the big league club Price has been trying to find his way through the minor leagues to find out what works.
Sometime the key to making it to the major leagues is adapting to a new role or overcoming injuries.
Price had to battle through both and his payoff was being added to the clubs 40-man roster following the 2013 season.
Price, now 27, was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the first round (#45 overall) of the 2008 draft.
He was a sandwich compensation pick for the free agent loss of Eric Gagne who signed with the Milwaukee Brewers.
A little over a year after being drafted by the Red Sox he changed organizations and was sent to the Indians who assigned him to their High-A affiliate Kinston club where he finished the year making seven starts.
Overall, he finished his first full minor league season making 26 starts between the Red Sox A-Ball affiliate Greenville Drive, High-A affiliate Salem Red Sox, and Kinston posting a 6-12 record with a 4.75 ERA.
In 2010 the Indians converted him from a starting pitcher to a reliever and he spent the year with the Indians Double-A affiliate Akron Aeros appearing in 40 games (69.1 IP) striking out 69 batters while issuing only 20 non-intentional walks. He was unable to stay healthy for the entire season as he was shelved for much of the month of may with right shoulder stiffness.
In 2011 he spent the entire season in Akron but was limited to just 28 games (was limited to 28 games (1 start) during the 2011 season and saw his strikeout rate drop from 9 K/9 in 2010 to 51.2 innings and saw his strikeout per nine inning rate drop from 9 K/9 in 2010 to 5.7 K/9 in 2011.
He opened the 2012 season for the third consecutive year with the Akron Aeros but after 27 games he was promoted to the Indians Triple-A affiliate Columbus Clippers. Overall he worked in 40 games (69.2 IP) and raised his strikeout rate back to 8.2 K/9 while having a walks per nine innings rate of 3.1 BB/9.
He began the 2013 season with the Columbus Clippers but after just two appearances was placed on the 7-day disabled list and when he was ready to return he’d spend the next 16 games once again with the Akron Aeros. He was recalled to the Clippers on May 24th and proceeded to give up eight runs over his first five outings in just seven innings of work.
But then something clicked and he seemed to have put everything together. He remained healthy the remainder of the season and was impressive over his final 28 games (50.2 IP) allowing only six earned runs and struck out 60 batters while issuing eight walks.
After the season he reported to Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan Winter League and appeared in 15 games (19 IP) and struck out 19 batters, walked six, and held hitters to a .133 batting average. For most of the winter he assumed the closers role and was credited with six saves.
While he only worked 4.1 innings in Cactus League action he left an impression on the Tribe’s Manager who seems well versed on Price’s journey through the minor leagues. “Doesn’t have immediate success, actually gets sent back down to Double-A, towards the end of last year really started attacking the strike zone – working ahead.” Francona said. “Goes to Winter Ball in a closers role and really excels. Gets put on the roster, comes to camp and I can see why this has happened. He’s got really good stuff, he’s got three major league pitches.”
As demonstrated in his career with the Indians, Bryan Price will have to adjust and overcome obstacles. During his last appearance with the team he gave up two earned runs on three hits in just 1.1 innings of work against the Kansas City Royals.
Of his outing against the Royals Francona said “I’m almost glad it happened – the game sped up on him a little bit and he admitted it. And he said, ‘I get it.’ Now it may happen again, but he understands it. He knows what he has to do. Now he just has to go do it and be consistent, because there’s no reason he can’t be a solid Major League reliever.”
Last year the Indians reached down to the their minor leagues and called up 40-man relievers Matt Langwell, Preston Guilmet, and C.C. Lee each of whom made their major league debut. Bryan Price will be looking for the same opportunity at some point in 2014 and when it comes he’ll look to take full advantage of it.