The Dodgers have reportedly hired Mark Prior to become their new bullpen coach, according to a source of Yahoo’s Tim Brown.
Brown announced the speculation on his Twitter account.
Source says Dodgers have hired Mark Prior. Club has not confirmed. For the past few years Prior has served as Padres minor-league pitching coordinator and by all accounts has been very good at that job.
— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) January 3, 2018
Prior, 37, is a former Major-League pitcher who pitched in five big-league seasons. He compiled a record of 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA with the Cubs, including going 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA in 2003.
After being labeled a can’t-miss talent by his personal pitching coach Tom House, Prior’s delivery went from being praised to questioned following several arm injuries hampered his career.
He announced his retirement in 2013. His ratio of 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings trails only Randy Johnson (10.6) among pitchers with at least 500 innings pitched.
In 2015 he took over as the Padres’ Minor League pitching coordinator, working with each of the team’s affiliates for three days at a time.
Prior seems to be a good fit with the Dodgers because of the can’t-miss ability he once possessed; plus, his experience with minor-league pitchers bodes well as he knows how to work with talent of that age as it comes into the big leagues and a different culture.
In an interview with MLB.com in 2015, Prior said that he “loved every minute of it, and helping to achieve their (the pitchers) dream, whether it be a small part of it or a large part.”
One prospect that Prior had a hand in improving is Michel Baez. The 21-year-old Cuban pitcher got off to a rough start, including an early outing where he allowed four runs in 5.0 innings pitched.
Baez wound up finishing the season with a record of 7-2 with a 2.54 ERA. He also boasted an impressive strikeout/9 ratio of 12.6. It is exciting to see what he can do with the Dodgers pitchers going forward.