Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Pedigree — check. Mental toughness — check. Nasty temperament on the mound — check. Wicked pitches that can be thrown on any count for an out pitch, with runners on base — check. Above all, Drew Price enters his senior year as possibly the New Mexico Player of the Year in high school for baseball.
What has impressed New Mexico State University coach Brian Green is that Drew Price was less than five hours away and still doing work at Goddard High School. His father, Chris Price, is a former major league pitcher who has worked with his son and honed him from the mental aspect as much as the physical, to be a top-notch pitcher.
“I’ve stressed to him,” dad Chris Price said. “How many times do you think a major league pitcher has his best stuff when he goes out there? He’s always hurt, or something is wrong. Very rarely is Price going to go out there and not have his fastball, so when he doesn’t have it, he has to find another pitch to get over the plate. I’m a dad, not a coach. I don’t ever hang my head when he is struggling. I just show confidence. I tell him, ‘It could always be worse; go on to the next batter, you’re playing a game.”
Those are all of the things that fifth-year New Mexico State University baseball coach Brian Green was looking for in Drew Price, who signed last week to continue his pitching career as an Aggie. New Mexico State has come off one of their most successful seasons in years. Last year, the Aggies went 40-22 overall and 17-7 in Western Athletic Conference play winning their first WAC title in the program’s history. They also made their fourth regional appearance before losing out to Texas Tech to play in the College World Series.
“We’re really excited to introduce Drew (Price) as part of the class,” Aggie head baseball coach Brian Green said. “He’s a big, projectable right-handed arm. I was really impressed with him and his family when they came down to visit a couple of times. He fit the mold with our culture. It was a really positive meeting with him and his dad. Both of our assistants (Terry Davis and Anthony Claggett) checked him off as a guy who could really do something for us. Then I met with him and really like him and his family. We recruited him hard and we’re really excited to have him.”
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Coach Green feels like it is important to recruit the state of New Mexico. Green is looking at Price to be able to come in and contribute as a freshman. Some of the things Green liked about Price is his ability to have two quality pitchers.
“Our pitching coach, Anthony Claggett, thinks Drew (Price) has a chance to be really, really special,” Green said. “I think he has a chance to make an impact in our program. I like his physical makeup and his body. I like the way that his arm works. I think he has a chance to really develop and be physically mature when he gets here. Anytime you see a guy with his type of stuff in New Mexico, we get really excited. That’s what put him on the radar.”
New Mexico State has been watching Price for the last two years when they first saw him pitch in a tournament. Both coaches Terry Davis and Claggett kept in touch with him and watched how he progressed over the last two years and have liked what they have seen. Green likes the fact that Price can throw a changeup and a split-finger and that he has a fastball that will clock in at 90 mph. Green thinks with his arm action that he can establish a cutter pitch down the road.
“There’s no question that we are looking at him to come in and pitch as a freshman,” Green said. “We’ve got a heavy senior class this year and will turn over a lot. We will have a lot of freshmen and sophomores next year, which will be the first time for us. This class will be the first time it will be extensively high school. We want to establish a younger recruiting class that can stay in our program for two and three years; then you have a chance to really impact your culture.”
Being able to compete at the highest level is what has driven Price to get to this stage of his career. As a senior, he will try and help Goddard get to a sixth championship game. One of the highlights of his career was when he was given the ball against Deming as a sophomore and pitched four scoreless innings.
Former Goddard coach Alan Edmonson thinks that Price could be the best baseball player in the state of New Mexico.
“I’m not sure we’re going to see too many players put up the numbers he does this coming year,” Edmonson said. “Drew has confidence in himself and that he has high expectations for himself and that he gives himself and his team a chance to win.”
Current Goddard coach Gilbert Alvarado feels like Price deserves everything he has gotten and he’s earned it. Noting that he is joining 10 percent of the athletes that will continue their career playing college baseball on any level. The one thing that Alvarado stressed is that opposing pitchers shouldn’t sleep on Price at the plate because he is as ruthless with his cuts in the batting cage as he is on the mound.
“The way that he competes on the mound is unparalleled,” Alvarado said. “I’ve never seen him give up. He was neck and neck with Tyler Hardwick and who do you want to go win a game for us. I’m very proud of him and impressed with what he has done. I hope he keeps working hard and is successful at the next level.”
The one moment to date that will stand in Alvarado’s mind was when Goddard was playing in the opening round of the playoffs against Roswell. Roswell had the bases loaded and ended up getting two runs across in the first inning. He was really flustered and Alvarado’s first thought was to pull him out of the game. Alvarado had Ty Villareal warming up in the bullpen.
Alvarado told pitching coach Henry Villareal they were going with Ty and would save Price for another game. When Alvarado was going out to the third-base box, Price came out to him and told him, “Coach, please don’t pull me out. Put me back in the game and I’ll make sure we have a chance to win the game.”
Price shutout Roswell the next six innings and Goddard won in the bottom of the ninth-inning. Alvarado thinks that he saved his pitching staff, too, not only in that series but for the rest of the playoffs.
Another thing that Alvarado loves about Price is that he pitched most of the season injured.
With baseball workouts starting in January, Alvarado is excited to have Price’s leadership as Goddard gets ready to chase their sixth Blue Trophy title game appearance in as many years.
“They offered me,” Price said. “It seemed like a great school when I went and visited. I couldn’t pass up what they were offering. I’ve been working on all of my off-speed velocity. I think being in shape is going to be key for me when I get to school.”
Price’s goal this season is to get back to the championship game and win it. Price’s road to the Blue Trophy starts in January.