David Price: Do 2015 Playoff Struggles Hurt 2016 Value?

Starting pitchers may have the easiest, and hardest, job in all of baseball. They pitch once every five days. When they are on the mound, all eyes are on them. The pressure meter is then turned up to 11 when the playoffs begin. David Price is lights out during the regular season, which matters to fantasy owners, but can’t get the job done in the postseason. Does this hurt his fantasy value for next season? 

Price has a career .650 win percentage with a 3.09 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in the regular season. He is a five-time All Star and 2012 American League Cy Young winner. All of those numbers mean very little when you can’t get the job done when it matters most – in the postseason.

As a starter in the playoffs, eight starts, David Price owns an 0-7 record with a 5.27 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The only win he has in the postseason came this season when he pitched three innings in relief in Game 4 of the ALDS.

That kind of drop off between regular season and postseason is astonishing. Price is a top-10 starting pitcher and usually drafted in the first five rounds. With little success in the postseason, how can we trust him in the regular season?

It’s easy.

David Price faces much better competition in the playoffs. The offenses are better in the playoffs. According to Fangraphs, opposing playoff offenses have a .767 OPS and 11.4 HR/FB percentage. In 74.1 innings with the Toronto Blue Jays this season, Price had a 5.8 HR/FB percentage.

While that’s not an excuse, it gives some reasoning behind his struggles. David Price still needs to control his pitches and make smarter decisions. He threw fewer fastballs in the postseason, and the other pitches he did throw had a 4.34 home run percentage.  

Even if the postseason numbers are eye-popping, Price can still get it done in the regular season. He posted a 2.45 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 4.79 K:BB ratio with a 18-5 record this season. He finished as the sixth-best starting pitcher and 15th-best overall player according to the Player Rater.

Fantasy owners don’t care about the postseason numbers, but they should. They could be an indicator of the following season. However, I don’t think that is the case for David Price. He is still an elite pitcher and should be drafted like one in 2016.

Projections: 16-6, 2.85 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 211 strikeouts

Draft: Round 4