Dan Zangrilli reports that the Tampa Bay Rays had scouts at the Altoona Curve game tonight. Those scouts could have been there for the Detroit Tigers farm club as well, but sticking with the Pittsburgh Pirates angle, the obvious main target from the Rays is pitcher David Price.
The Curve have some interesting prospects, including shortstop Alen Hanson and outfielder Josh Bell, both of whom are top 100 prospects in baseball. Tonight was also an outing from Adrian Sampson, who has had a break-out season this year, including a one-hit complete game shutout ten days ago. Sampson didn’t have his best stuff tonight, allowing three runs on nine hits over six innings. He has been strong all season though, coming into tonight with the second best ERA in the Eastern League and the best WHIP. We posted a trade value article for Price over the weekend that should give you a good value of his cost.
Assuming the Pirates had interest in acquiring Price, which they should at the right cost, those three players mentioned above might be a package the Rays would be interested in. The Curve also have toolsy outfielder Willy Garcia and catcher Elias Diaz, who has added strong offense to his above-average defense this season. Stetson Allie homered in the game, his 15th of the season. His power bat could be intriguing, despite the low average/high strikeouts.
So the Curve game tonight represents the best collection of talent for any one team in the Pirates system, with the West Virginia Power not far behind.
As for Price, he has a 3.08 ERA in 22 starts this season and leads the American League in games started, innings pitched, strikeouts and also home runs allowed. As a lefty in PNC, he would get some help in that last category. His last start came on Friday against the Red Sox, so with the trading deadline looming (Thursday), he may not make another start before then. He went eight innings that outing and gave up three runs on eight hits, no walks and ten strikeouts in the 6-4 victory.
All of this talk with Price might be for nothing the way the Rays are playing lately. They are 19-5 in their last 24 games and might want to hold onto him until the end of the season because they are now in the Wild-Card race. He has one more year left on his contract after this season, so he will still have a high trade value in the off-season and keeping him for now would give the Rays a chance to make the playoffs this year. That didn’t seem like a possibility early this month.