“Young, Gifted And Black”: Price profiled in Sports Illustrated

David Price, the No. 1 overall draft pick in the the 2007 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, is profiled in this week’s Sports Illustrated. You can read the article here.

Price left Vanderbilt as the most decorated pitcher in school history, winning numerous honors including the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award, and has shown no signs of letting up in his first professional season. Price was 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 34.2 innings Class A Vero Beach before being called up to Double A Montgomery, where he is 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 45 innings.

The article discusses Price’s potential to serve as a role model for African-Americans in a sport that is in dire need of some. Last season just 8.2 percent of major league baseball players were black, the lowest total in more than two decades.

“I hear a lot about how African-American kids don’t play baseball anymore,” Hillsborough coach Kenny White tells SI’s Lee Jenkins. “But in Tampa they are still playing. I think kids here look at all the African-American players who have come out of this city—and now all the African-American players who are being taken by the Rays—and they see that it’s still attainable, that baseball is still an option.”

Price is expected to be called up to the Rays for the stretch run, most likely as a set-up man, similar to how the New York Yankees used Joba Chamberlain last season. Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan writes that “Price has major-league-ready pitches that include a mid-90s fastball and a big, biting slider” to go along with “superior command.”