David Price is not the first pitcher to get taken deep twice in the same game by Albert Pujols, and the way the slugger seems to have rediscovered his power stroke this season, odds are he won't be the last. However, the perception seems to be that Price has lost something on the mound, and that he's not going to get it back.
With a 4-4 record and an ERA of 4.28 this season, Price has been relegated to No. 33 among all starting pitchers on the ESPN Player Rater. After Pujols and his Los Angeles Angels touched him up for five runs and 11 hits on Sunday, Price has seen his batting average against rise to .303 in his past five starts.
Despite all of that, there's no pitcher I'd rather have on my fantasy roster right now. Throw out all the other stats. We all know wins don't have much to do with how well a starting pitcher is throwing. (Just ask Jeff Samardzija about that one.) But if there's one statistic that serves as an indicator for success in the long run, it's K/BB, and that's one area where Price continues to shine.
Price has 77 strikeouts and only six walks on the year. Six! He's yet to allow multiple free passes in a game this season, and J.J. Hardy is the only hitter to have seen ball four against Price all month long. At a rate of 12.83, Price has been far and away the best in the majors in K/BB this season.
Compare that to R.A. Dickey, who has a similar record and ERA (4-4, 4.20). Look at Dickey's K/BB of 1.67 and tell me which pitcher you'd rather have going forward, even if the knuckleballer's BAA for the year is only .231.
In fact, any pitcher with a K/BB under 2.50 is someone to consider shopping around your league before the proverbial worm starts to turn. I'm looking at pitchers like Mark Buehrle (7-1, 2.11 ERA, 1.94 K/BB) Sonny Gray (5-1, 2.10 ERA, 2.48 K/BB) and, yes, even Justin Verlander (5-2, 3.15 ERA, 1.96 K/BB) as potential sells.
Meanwhile, pitchers who may not "look" good in the traditional sense of wins and losses, but have exhibited a K/BB rate over 4.00 are always welcome on my team's staff. A few current examples of this are Ian Kennedy (2-5, 3.60 ERA, 5.00 K/BB) Colby Lewis (3-2, 4.99 ERA, 4.14 K/BB) and Brandon McCarthy (1-6, 5.01 ERA, 5.20 K/BB).