Matthew Price, RHP, South Carolina

Class: RS Junior
Hometown: Sumter, South Carolina
Height/Weight: 6-2/215
Born: September 8, 1989

For the past two seasons, Price has been the anchor in the bullpen for the back-to-back CWS champion South Carolina Gamecocks. After a sensational campaign in 2010, in which he saved ten games (including three in the NCAA tournament) and struck out 83 batters in 55.2 innings, Price put forth a career year in 2011. He saved 20 games, and sent down 75 batters on strikes in a mere 59 innings. In the Gamecocks run to their second consecutive title he pitched in with nine scoreless innings, spanning eight outings.

This season, Price has fallen back into his role as the team’s primary closer, but only after he began the season in the team’s rotation, slotted behind number one starter Michael Roth. Coach Ray Tanner got only five starts out of Price in the rotation before returning him to his previous assignment.

As a result of the split role, Price has struggled to dominate as easily as in the past. His ERA (3.74) currently sits a run and a half above his career number and his strikeout numbers have fallen while his walk totals have increased.

Luckily, he’s still managed to hold hitters to a .195 average.

Despite his uneven performances as a starter this season, Price has the repertoire to give it a go in professional ball. That’s likely what the Diamondbacks were thinking when they drafted him in the sixth-round last June. That’s also the likely route the team that drafts him next month is expected to take. If all else fails, they can always shift him back to the pen, where they know they have a sure thing.

Early on in his career at USC, Price faced some questions about his work ethic, primarily his conditioning, but he has since put those doubts to rest.

Fastball: 90-93 mph
Slider: 82-87 mph
Changeup: 78-83 mph

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