Adventures in Bizarre Stat Lines (Wasted Career Division)

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Sprint CEO Dan Hesse poses with actress Jane Lynch (L) and model Kate Upton (R) during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

"Bizarre" in the sense of, holy crap, how was this guy this good, at this age?

Mark Prior is now a footnote, a data point in the "There's No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect" handbook and an example of how fragile pitchers can be.

He was really, really good at one point, though. This was his first full season in the majors, at age 22:

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2003 22 CHC NL 18 6 .750 2.43 30 30 0 3 1 211.1 183 67 57 15 50 245 9 179 1.103 7.8 0.6 2.1 10.4 4.90
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/31/2012.

Since the DH was implemented, he's only the second pitcher age 22 or younger to have 200+ innings and a 175 ERA+, the other being Dwight Gooden.

He's also the only pitcher aged 22 or younger to post a bWAR of at least 6.0 since 1985, when Gooden and Bret Saberhagen* both did it.

* Gooden and Saberhagen, like Prior, also looked like future Hall of Famers until injuries derailed their careers.

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