Possibly the greatest pitching
talent to arrive in Major League Baseball
during this generation
(though fans of the Florida Marlins
may argue for Dontrelle Willis
), Chicago Cubs
right-hander Mark Prior is also widely regarded as the best college
pitcher of all time following some amazing work at the University of Southern California
. In his senior year, he allowed only 18 walks
while amassing 202 strikeouts
, an unbelievable ratio.
Prior spent only a few weeks in the minor leagues. There, in short stints with the Double-A West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx and the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, he not only dominated from the mound in every start, but was one of the more feared hitters in either league.
Making his major league debut on May 22nd, 2002, Prior struck out 10 batters and earned a no-decision. He would finish that season 6-6 with a 3.32 ERA.
Prior stands 6'5" and weighs 230 pounds. He throws a fastball in the mid-90's of miles per hour and a sharp breaking curveball. His most noticeable traits are his smooth delivery -- nearly perfect in its form -- and his pinpoint accuracy. Barring injury, he is as likely as any young player to eventually reach the Hall of Fame.