Despite not actually participating in a major league game since 2006, Mark Prior is still pursuing his dream.
The formerly dominant right-hander has tallied seven innings of work for the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden Baseball League. Prior has been pitching in relief and has yet to allow an earned run. He’s struck out 15 batters, while allowing just six baserunners on three walks and three hits.
Scouts who have seen Prior throw have regarded his stuff as “OK” but certainly not what it once was. His velocity is said to be in the 87-to-88 mph range, which would make him not even close to major league ready.
At one point in his outing last Wednesday, he struck out five straight batters while painting corners and hitting his spots.
Prior was one of the most dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball during his five-year career in the bigs. From 2002 to 2005 (when healthy) he was nearly unhittable. Therein lies the problem though, Prior was almost always injured.
The fact that he’s back to actually pitching again – instead of just continuing to go through a long recovery process – is certainly progress. Instead of just giving up like so many others, you have to give the guy credit for at least trying. It can’t be easy to go through the kind of drop off that he’s been through.
To go from an All-Star who looks like a future Hall of Famer, to completely out of baseball in just a few years had to be awful for Prior.
Hopefully this latest comeback attempt is the real deal and he can regain some semblance of his old form.