Dodgers News: Mark Prior Downplays Role in Saving Pitchers’ Careers
If you’re a fan of the Dodgers, you know the incredible work that Mark Prior and the rest of the team’s pitching staff does. They are some of the best coaches in the game, and have been responsible for the revitalization of numerous pitchers careers.
Just last year, Prior and his staff helped Tyler Anderson — a pitcher with a career 4.62 ERA — go 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA, and make the All-Star team for the first time in his career. They also helped Andrew Heaney revitalize his career, although he struggled with injuries, but was really good early on in the season.
Both pitchers were rewarded with massive pay days this offseason, which is a big reason why RHP Noah Syndergaard signed with the Dodgers this year. He saw what Prior and the staff did with those guys, and wanted a similar revitalization of his career.
However, Prior doesn’t like to take credit for any of that. In fact, he spoke to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, and made it clear that all the success the pitchers have is “player-driven.”
“It’s player-driven. It’s buy-in. It’s the ability to work together,” Prior said. “It was a lot of fun to work with Tyler and Andrew last year. I’m happy for those guys. And hopefully, we’re talking in November and Noah (Syndergaard) is another (success story). … But he was really good and he got hurt and he had a good year last year. So I don’t view this as a huge flyer that we’re taking.”
Others would disagree, as Syndergaard hasn’t been an All-Star since 2016. Last year, he had a 3.94 ERA in 25 appearances across his two teams. While that’s not necessarily horrible, he has higher expectations with the Dodgers.
But yes, it may be fair to say that Syndergaard wouldn’t be as big of a success story as what Prior was able to do with someone like Anderson — but he doesn’t want to take any credit for that, either.
“Tyler was healthy last year. What he did last year and a lot of the success that he had last year was Tyler-driven,” Prior said to Plunkett. “And at the end of the day, all of these things are player-driven and we’re just doing our best to support these guys in their own individual ways that set them up for success. That’s always our message. It’s not like we have this thing where you punch in and you punch out and things happen. We’ve had our failures too.”
Prior can be humble, but everyone knows the work he’s doing to help these players thrive. Syndergaard has already said the Dodgers coaches are the best he’s ever worked with in his career, and it’s hard to blame him.
Anderson and Heaney are just two of the countless pitchers who have had their careers revitalized under the tutelage of Prior. And if all goes according to plan, Syndergaard will be next — but Prior won’t want any credit for that, either.
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