By all accounts — figuratively literally every single account out there, including ones held by Greek banks and Tibetan monks — the Mariners are promoting Stephen Pryor to the big leagues today. Or they already have since this is a post written from the past* and scheduled for the future. Well, it was the future then. It's the past now. Either way, hopefully it is Pryor getting or gotten the call because otherwise this post will be premature.
You have probably heard Pryor's name before, but might be hazy on some of the details. Here is a helpful rundown of the need-to-know facts about Stephen Pryor.
- Stephen Pryor was a fifth round draft pick in 2010, 162nd overall by the Mariners. That was the Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and, in a way, Carter Capps draft. That's not a bad draft haul for the first pick coming at 43rd overall. In fact, it's a downright good one. I'm not sure why we so often go with the obvious understatement route of expression.
- Pryor has moved very quickly through the system, jumping levels each season. He began 2010 with short-season Everett, but ended it with Low-A Clinton. He began 2011 with High-A High Desert, but ended it with Double-A Jackson. He began 2012 with Double-A Jackson, but will at least reach, if not end it in the Majors.
- Stephen is a vice president of Exxon Mobil and also a licensed CPA! I guess he stays busy in the off-season, or as Stephen calls it "tax season", haha!
- In his entire professional (baseball as well as accounting and executive!) career spanning 113 innings across all those levels, Stephen Pryor has given up two home runs. Both came while with High Desert in 2011.
- If Pryor is the call up he will likely become the first player from the draft round to make it to the majors. His promotion comes 1 year, 11 months and 24 days after being drafted by the Mariners so we can now conclusively declare Jay to be a complete idiot. Class, everyone make fun of Jay.
Pryor is a big guy with huge speed on his fastball, but the expected command problems. He hasn't put up huge ground ball rates to match his almost non-existent home runs, but by dint of his stature and fastball, Pryor might be very difficult for hitters to pull and there's research pointing to a connection between repressing pulled fly balls and a skill in posting lower than expected home run rates.
If so, I think Pryor is likely to come in and be a typical reliever. He'll be prone to what appears to be wild streaks in one direction or the other since relievers get so infrequent work, but he'll end up hovering around (regressed) average. However, if he can find a bit more command, Pryor can continue making rapid progress up the depth charts and might even find himself in the closing role in short order. And with his huge strikeout potential, it might be difficult for anyone to wrestle that spot away from him once it's his.