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7/13/2006

PRIOR, THE CURSE & THE DRAFT

Remember how we laughed at the Twins? They were so cheap they wouldn't shell out the cash to take USC's Mark Prior with the 1st overall pick of the 2001 MLB Draft. Prior was the one with the silky-smooth delivery, the textbook mechanics and the heater that blew right by people.

His 2001 season at USC was nothing short of amazing. 15-1 with 6 CGs and 3 shutouts, 138 IP and 202 Ks! An ERA of 1.70.

Today, Mark Prior is 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA. He recently hurt himself in batting practice. Practice. This after getting a rather late start to the season. I don't know what Cher is singing about when she bellows "If I Could Turn Back Time"--likely some plastic surgery procedure--but I know for Cubs fans it means we would have taken Joe Mauer over Prior. Hindsight is 20-20? So what? Cubs fans have special exemption from that.

But it's not just Mauer, who leads the AL in hitting at .378. I found a list of other players selected after Prior in that draft that I would rather have on the Cubs. Take into consideration performance, salary, health and future potential.

For your contemplation:
  1. Mark Texieira- Rd. 1, 5th overall pick
  2. Bobby Crosby- 25th
  3. Jeremy Bonderman- 26th
  4. David Wright- 38th
  5. Dan Haren- Rd. 2, 72nd
  6. David Bush- Rd. 4, 109th
  7. Ryan Howard- Rd. 5, 140th
  8. Chad Tracy- Rd. 7, 218th
  9. Kevin Youkilis- Rd. 8, 243rd

So there you have it. 10 players from that draft I would rather have than Mark Prior.

I will also say this: I think Prior is smart. I think that he probably isn't 100% healthy. Why go out and risk your career for a ballclub that is 34-54? Especially when they tried to trade him? He's getting shelled so an oblique pull is the perfect little setback for him to relax. Whether or not he can take pain or just refuses to deal with pain is not for me to say. But I will. It just seems like he will not grit it out.

Prior said the other day after his oblique pull that "The goat is starting to look real," referring to the Billy Goat curse. I guess he's right.

Because he was the surest thing to ever come out of a draft when the Cubs picked him. And I just revealed 10 guys who I would rather have now. It's all so Cubs. The curse indeed.

**UPDATE**
Cubs today place Mark Prior on 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle retroactive to July 5. In turn, the Cubs re-call infielder Ryan Theriot from Triple A Iowa.

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2 comments:

Bob said...

The list of 10 is impressive, even with Texieira's struggles this season. As a Cards fan, we really do wish we had Haren back. Just another in a list of highly drafted players by STL who didn't perform up to expectation fast enough and got traded away, only to blossom into a great player after leaving.

Great post about Prior and the DL, by the way.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

The Zoner said...

Thank you Bob. And funny enough that Texieira hit 3 bombs last night. The AL West should be a fun race to watch...