35-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2016 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Mark Prior in 2016. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Mark Prior Contract Information:
Signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox on May 2, 2012.
Prior is officially retired, the St. Paul Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino reports.
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Mark Prior Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Mark Prior: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Mark Prior.
Prior's extensive injury history is well known, the latest chapter being surgery to repair his rotator cuff and labrum last April. Apparently, the damage isn't career-threatening, and there's a chance Prior will be ready for the start of the season, but we're skeptical that we'll ever see the Prior of old. He signed with San Diego after the Cubs let him go. Petco Park is a very pitcher-friendly environment, which makes Prior an enticing sleeper, but make sure you have plenty of insurance given his terrible injury history.
There isn't space in this whole magazine to chronicle Prior's injury history in its entirety, but suffice it to say that something happened to his shoulder last winter (which the Cubs didn't entirely disclose) because he had a very strong September in 2005, and was never the same in 2006. Initially, the injury was termed a shoulder strain, and the team hoped Prior would return in April. April stretched into June, when Prior made a few ineffective starts before straining an oblique muscle. He returned in late July, only to be shut down again in mid-August with shoulder tendinitis. Prior's been working to strengthen the joint, which has "looseness," a genetic condition that allows him to generate velocity but also causes problems, according to Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal. That's all that's known at press time, but it sounds to us like Prior's headed for shoulder surgery if he can't somehow beef up the support in his shoulder through rehab and exercise. Temper your expectations here. It might be a while before Prior returns to anything resembling his previous form—if he ever does.
After sitting out most of spring training and one turn in the rotation with elbow inflammation, Prior didn't miss a beat when he returned in mid-April with excellent velocity and good command. That is, until a line drive in late May fractured his pitching elbow. The injury kept Prior out a month, and when he returned, he was nearly his usual self, though his walk rate went up a bit, and his home run rate spiked significantly. Since the strikeouts were still there, we'll assume his arm was healthy and chalk the command issues up to rust. Prior didn't pitch particularly well in August, but improved in September and is completely healthy at press time. Of course, the usual caveats apply for an injury nagged pitcher with a history of big workloads at a young age, but assuming Prior stays healthy, he's as good a bet for the Cy Young award as anyone.
After starting the season late due to Achilles' tendinitis, then missing time in July with elbow inflammation, Prior never really got going in 2004 until it was too late, both for the Cubs and fantasy owners. Still, there are a lot of good reasons to like him in 2005. Despite a 4.02 ERA that included a few starts where he was plainly out of sync, he still managed a 139/48 K/BB ratio in 118.7 IP. Moreover, he was lights out in September, posting a 2.17 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 43/7 K/BB ratio. His final start was a complete-game three-hitter with 16 K. As long as the health reports are good heading into March, bid full value.
Prior had what was possibly the best season of any starting pitcher in the majors. What was most impressive was what he did down the stretch: 10-1, 95/16 K/BB in 83 IP, 1.52 ERA after the All-Star break. Keep in mind also that Prior missed a few starts in July due to a sore shoulder after colliding with Marcus Giles on the basepaths, which cut into his strikeout and win totals a little bit. In sum, the only thing that could slow Prior down in 2004 is the after-affect of a high workload. Manager Dusty Baker routinely worked Prior deep into games, generating high pitch counts. (Prior actually led the majors in pitches per start with 113.3). At press time, however, there's no specific reason to think this will be a problem -- Prior has impeccable mechanics, he pitched his best toward the end of the season and he has not complained of any arm soreness. Prior will likely be the first pitcher taken in many roto formats, and for good reason.
Often dubbed the second coming of Tom Seaver, Prior lived up to his billing during his rookie season before being shut down in September with a strained hamstring. After dominating in the high minors, Prior posted an ungodly 147/38 K/BB ratio and a 3.32 ERA in 116 2/3 innings with the Cubs. Assuming Prior's 2002 workload, including a 137-pitch outing in early August (it's always nice to see an interim manager risk the future of the franchise when the team is well out of contention) doesn't take its toll, Prior could contend for the Cy Young award as early as this season.