Few end of year awards (outside of The Dundies) come with backhanded compliments, but today, David Price won 2018 AL Comeback Player of the Year. 2018 was a strong year for the $30 mil/year pitcher, as he started 30 games, went 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA, had 176 IP, tossed one more K than innings pitched, and was a 4.4 WAR player for the world champions.
2018 was not only a statistically good season for Price, though. It was emotionally restorative, as well, as he shook the postseason monkey from his back on the world’s greatest stage, pitching the Boston Curt Schilling’s Bloody Socks to wins over Houston and Los Angeles (on short rest, no less).
Of course, Comeback Player of the Year is not awarded in a vacuum, as you can only qualify for the award if you suffered through a piss-poor previous year in either performance or injuries. For Price, 2017 was a bit of both, as he opened the season on the DL with an injury to his pitching elbow, only got 11 starts, and was moved to the bullpen late in the season. However, his numbers were still what we have come to expect from David Price (his 3.38 ERA in 2017 was over half a run better than the first year of his monster contract, and even 2/10 of a run better than this, his year of redemption).
In fact, one can only conclude if not for the monster contract and accompanying outsized expectations from Massholes across the world, Price’s name would not have been anywhere near this award. Add to that Price’s up to this season Sisyphean postseason narrative, and it’s hard to convince the heart that this year was not a massive improvement.
The numbers don’t bear it out, but it’s not like baseball is a game of numbers, analytics, or advanced statistics.
Suck it, nerds.