> BUY > Pitching > Mark Prior Was Not A Fluke

Updated 10.28.2020

I like Will Carroll.

I've met with and talked to him, in person, and he's a pleasant guy.

I've also read Saving the Pitcher and think it's a well-timed and well-intentioned — if fatally flawed — book. However, it drives me absolutely nuts when Will says things like this...

(Mark) Prior went on to have a nice year in '03, but a fluke injury took him down.

I've discussed the topic at length, if not ad nauseam, elsewhere, including in these two pieces I've recently updated...

...but let me touch on it here.

Mark Prior Was Not A Fluke

I understand the position Will is in.

Saving the Pitcher was his attempt to address the problem of pitching injuries by combining the best ideas of...

  • Tom House
  • Dr. Mike Marshall

Unfortunately, at the core of the book are Mark Prior's pitching mechanics and an explanation of why Prior is the model for all pitchers, going forward.

Which, given Mark Prior's injury history, now seems like a mistake.

However, because he's so tightly wed to Tom House, it's extremely hard for Will to say anything negative about Tom House or Mark Prior. Doing so would invalidate pretty much everything that is said in Saving the Pitcher, turning a year's work into at best an exercise in futility and, worse, a massive waste of time.

As a result, it's much easier for Will to go along with the party line that Mark Prior's pitching mechanics were perfect and his career was derailed by his collision on the basepaths with Marcus Giles.

Anthony Reyes

The reason I find the Mark Prior fluke injury narrative so infuriating is that it completely ignores another USC product named Anthony Reyes.

And a key question.

What happened to Anthony Reyes?

Anthony Reyes' career at USC overlapped Mark Prior's and his pitching mechanics were virtually identical to those of Mark Prior.

Anthony Reyes

Anthony Reyes

If you compare the pitching mechanics of Anthony Reyes and Mark Prior, you will see the same Inverted W arm action and the same Timing problem.

Mark Prior

Mark Prior

And, as it turned out, Anthony Reyes lasted only slightly longer than Mark Prior, likely due in part to the fact that he wasn't ridden as hard as Mark Prior was.(1) However, in 2009 Anthony Reyes suffered nearly simultaneous shoulder and elbow injuries and his career was effectively over.

The Problem

So why do I get so worked up by this?

As long as people like Will Carroll and other Tom House apologists keep pushing the narrative that there was nothing wrong with Mark Prior's pitching mechanics, that Mark Prior was just a victim of a fluke collision on the basepaths, and continue to ignore the science behind the Inverted W, coaches and parents will continue to regard as valid, and teach, the pitching mechanics that ruined the arms of Mark Prior, Anthony Reyes, and the countless young pitchers who decided to copy Mark Prior's (supposedly) perfect pitching mechanics.

I know it's hard for people to admit that they were wrong, but young pitchers, and the game of baseball, deserve better.

For More Information

For a deeper understanding of Mark Prior's pitching mechanics, and what was wrong with them, you should read these articles...


[1] Dusty Baker wasn't the sole reason Mark Prior broke down, but he certainly didn't do him any favors. You have to handle guys with problematic pitching mechanics very carefully.

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