Price began playing baseball in his early childhood. He grew up as an Atlanta Braves fan, and idolized outfielder David Justice. As a teenager, he was a stand out on the Blackman High School baseball and basketball teams. In his high school career, he compiled a 0.43 ERA and 151 strikeouts. He was the recipient of many awards including the Rutherford County MVP Pitcher (2003 and 2004), the Co-District 7AAA Pitcher of the Year his senior season, and the Rutherford County Male Athlete of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He played in the 2004 High School All-America Game in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Though drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school, Price did not sign, and instead chose to attend Vanderbilt University on an academic scholarship, and pitched for the baseball team for three seasons.
In his freshman season in 2005, Price was honored as a Freshman All-American by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. That year he went 2-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 games, compiling 92 strikeouts in 69.1 innings pitched.
In 2006, as a sophomore, Price posted a 9-5 record with a 4.16 ERA in 110⅓ innings pitched. He set a school single-season record in strikeouts with 155 while walking only 43 batters. Over a span of six starts early in the season, he recorded 10 or more strikeouts each game, including a 17-strikeout performance in a game against Arkansas. That year, he was one of five finalists for the Golden Spikes Award and a semifinalist for the Roger Clemens Award. He was also named to the third-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, first-team All-South Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association and second-team All-SEC by the coaches in that conference.
As a junior he tallied an 11-1 record with a 2.63 ERA. He was the nation’s top strikeout pitcher, striking out 194 batters over 133⅓ innings, breaking his own school record. Price won several major national awards, including college baseball’s top honor, the 2007 Dick Howser Trophy, and the 2007 Brooks Wallace Award (best shortstop).
United States National Team
In the summer of 2005, Price pitched for the United States National Team. He went 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA in five games, tallying 39 strikeouts and 13 walks over 28⅔ innings. On August 2, 2005, he pitched a complete game shutout over Nicaragua, only allowing 5 hits. In the summer of 2006, Price helped the United States take home the gold medal in the World University Baseball Championship held in Cuba. In eight starts for the United States, Price was 5-1 with a 0.20 ERA.
He signed his first professional contract on August 15, 2007. According to The Tampa Tribune, the six-year contract was worth $8.5 million, including a $5.6 million signing bonus. After the contract was approved by Major League Baseball, he was added to the Rays’ 40-man roster before being optioned to the minor leagues to begin his career.
According to Baseball America, Prices bonus is the second-largest in draft history, behind only the $6.1 million Justin Upton received from the Arizona Diamondbacks as the top overall pick in the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. The guaranteed value is the third-highest in draft history, trailing only Mark Prior ($10.5 million, Cubs) and Mark Teixeira ($9.5 million, Rangers) from the 2001 draft. He made his spring training debut against the New York Yankees, hitting the first batter and striking out the next three in one inning of work. His fastball averaged 98 mph.
Price was first assigned to pitch for the Rays Single-A Vero Beach affiliate. He started six games for Vero Beach, compiling a record of 4-0. He had an ERA of 1.82 with 37 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched.
In only his second start in Vero Beach, Price pitched against Pedro Martínez. After the game, Pedro said of Price:
”He’s amazing, that kid. He’s amazing…. that kid is very mature for his time in [the pros], and very talented. Oh my God. God bless him and keep him healthy. That kid did a hell of a job of throwing first-pitch strikes and pounding the strike zone and jamming hitters. I was watching that. He did it like a big leaguer. He had such a command. Right there, I’m challenging you. I’m going to do what I gotta do without any fear. That’s the kind of talent you love to see.”
After moving up through the Rays’ minor league system to the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits in July, Price was promoted to the Triple-A Durham Bulls on August 9, 2008. After compiling an 11-0 combined record at Single-A and Double-A, Price received his first professional loss in his first start at Triple-A Durham.
Price made his major league debut with the Tampa Bay Rays on September 14, 2008, against the Yankees. The first home run he would allow came by Yankees short-stop Derek Jeter. He came in for 5⅓ innings of relief; he made his first major league start with the Tampa Bay Rays on September 22, 2008, against the Baltimore Orioles. He was the winning pitcher in Game 2 of the 2008 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, earning a post-season victory before winning a regular season game. He recorded the final four outs in Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS, earning his first career save and eliminating the defending champion Boston Red Sox. Price then pitched 2⅓ innings in Game 2 of the 2008 World Series; he gave up two earned runs but nevertheless earned his second career save.
On May 30, 2009, Price collected his first major league regular season win in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins in which he struck out 11 in under 6 innings.
* 2008 BET Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year
* 2007 Roger Clemens Award Winner
* 2007 Golden Spikes Award Winner
* 2007 Dick Howser Trophy Winner
* 2007 Baseball America College Player of the Year
* 2007 American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year
* 2007 American Baseball Coaches Association First Team All American
* 2007 Brooks Wallace Award Winn
* 2007 Baseball America College All-America First Team
* 2007 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year
* 2007 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association First Team All-American
* 2007 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association District Player of the Year
* 2007 SEC Male Athlete of the Year
* 2007 SEC Pitcher of the Year
* 2007 First Team All-SEC
* 2006 Golden Spikes Award Finalist
* 2006 Baseball America Summer Player of the Year
NOTE: Most information provided from wikipedia.org