Sunday, August 19, 2007

Top draft pick heads to Catfish

Photo by Neil Brake

You might have read that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays signed their top draft pick, David Price of Vanderbilt, to an $11.25 million deal.

Earlier, speculation had been that he would report to the Short Season Class A Hudson Valley Renegades. But recent published reports and other reports from the Columbus Catfish now say that Price will join the Catfish this week.

He likely will join the team in time for the bus ride to Charleston on Tuesday. He's not expected to see any action this season ... which has 15 games left, counting tonight's game with Asheville. But he'll get to see what it's like as part of a professional team. Including the 6-1/2 bus ride to Charleston.

Welcome to the Minor Leagues, David.

Update: With the assignment of Price, the Catfish will have Tampa Bay's top two picks on the roster. 2nd round pick Will Kline signed earlier, and is pitching as part of the Catfish starting rotation.

Price will be the first Major League first pick to be on a Columbus Roster since Floyd Bannister played for the 1976 Columbus Astros of the Southern League. Bannister played 3 games for Columbus, posting a 1-0 record and a 1.50 ERA.

Update: Actually, David Clyde, who was drafted in 1973 by Texas and went straight to the Majors from high school, signed with Houston as a free agent in 1981, and was assigned to AA Columbus. He pitched 7 games, had a 6-0 record, and an ERA of 0.76. He was promoted to AAA Tuscon (Pacific Coast League), but never made it back to the Majors.

In 1987, Al Chambers played with the AA Columbus Astros (Southern League). Chambers was drafted by Seattle as the top pick in 1979. For Columbus, Chambers appeared in 92 games, batting .282. He played for the AA Pittsfield Cubs (Eastern League) the next season.

In 2000, Brien Taylor pitched 5 games in relief for the Columbus RedStixx. Taylor was the top overall pick in 1991 for the Yankees, but never made it to the Show. He played 6 years, mostly at Class A level, before leaving the Yankees. For Columbus, Taylor recorded 6 outs in 5 games, allowing 11 runs (8 earned), for an ERA of 36.0. He walked 9, struck out 2, and had 7 wild pitches in those 5 appearances for Columbus.

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