Mark Prior Was Not A Fluke
I like Will Carroll.
I've talked to him on the phone and he's a pleasant guy. I've
also read Saving the Pitcher and think it's a well-timed
and well-intentioned book, if fatally flawed, book.
However, it drives me absolutely nuts when
says things like this...
(Mark) Prior went on to have a nice year in '03, but a fluke injury
took him down.
Listen, I understand the position that Will is in. Saving the
Pitcher is an attempt to address the problem of pitching
injuries by combining the best ideas of Tom House and Dr. Mike
Marshall. At the core of the book are Mark Prior's pitching
mechanics and an explanation of why they are the model toward
which all other pitchers should strive.
Because he is so tightly wed to Tom House, it's extremely hard
for Will to say anything negative about Tom House or Mark Prior,
because 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 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
The reason I find the Mark Prior fluke injury narrative so
infuriating is that it completely ignores another USC product
named Anthony Reyes whose career at USC overlapped Prior's and whose pitching mechanics were virtually
identical to those of Mark Prior.
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.
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 hasn't pitched in the major leagues since.
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
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 deserve better.
For a deeper understanding of Mark Prior's pitching mechanics,
and what was wrong with them, you should read these articles...
 Dusty Baker wasn't the sole reason that
Mark Prior broke down, but he certainly didn't do him any favors.
You have to handle guys with problematic pitching mechanics very