Stephen Strasburg.  Aroldis Champan.  Meet Mark Prior.

Although Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds fans may not want to hear it, the fate of hard-throwing prospects is all to familiar.

In Will Carroll’s book, Saving the Pitcher, he talks about the struggles and frequent arm troubles that seem to so often hinder the careers of today’s most promising stars.

Carroll states, “more than half of all starting pitchers will end up on the disabled list and over the last three seasons, more than two hundred pitchers at all levels of professional baseball have undergone ligament replacement surgery.”

Strasburg and Prior get all the attention because they are the biggest names and the pitchers who had the most hype. Chapman has avoided the disabled list in his brief career, but the facts are this type of thing is happening far too often and pitchers who throw hard tend to hit the disabled list just as hard.

Mark Prior was the second pick in the 2001 MLB draft and signed for $10.5 million. Fast forward nine years and Prior is pitching for the Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League trying to fight his way back into the majors, where he hasn’t pitched since 2006.

Prior knows exactly what it is like to be Stephen Strasburg. Eerily similar to Strasburg, Prior also faced premature hype, excessive expectations and injuries.

Although it is possible Strasburg comes back just as dominant as before, his injuries cannot be ignored. This is Strasburg’s second trip to the disabled list and baseball fans know how quickly injuries can begin to pile up.

There is hope because Tommy John surgeries have a high success rate and Chapman is still healthy, but the tides can turn quickly and before you know it Strasburg and Chapman could find themselves in the Independent league trying to get noticed.  Just ask Mark Prior.

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