Once regarded as the next “next big thing”, Mark Prior had expectations set so high, one could always wonder if those highs could ever be met.

Compared to 2010’s newest phenom Stephen Strasburg, Prior’s ascension to fame peaked during his junior year at USC as he went 15-1, 1.70 ERA in 18 starts with 202 strikeouts in 138 innings.

All signs pointed to Prior as a success—unspoiled mechanics with the stamp of approval from pitching Guru Tom House.

As we all know, anything can happen in this game and can’t miss prospects more often than not, miss, and unknowns become legendary.

By all means, Prior’s career started out true to form, going 24-12 with an ERA hovering around 2.74 and 392 strikeouts in 328 innings.  When all is said and done, those first two MLB seasons were the highlight of Prior’s career.

From 2004 through 2006, Prior recorded 18 wins coupled with 18 losses and ended ’06 giving up 35 runs in 46 innings.

Needless to say, the Chicago Cubs No. 1 pick in 2001 was out of baseball.

Five years later—and without a doubt, countless hours of rehab behind him—Prior is attempting what many professionals do,  a comeback.

However, this comeback is not with a minor league affiliate, or playing overseas, it begins in the Golden Baseball League and the Orange County Flyers.

The 29 year-old Prior, who worked out for Flyer’s Manager Paul Abbot, was scheduled to pitch in the second game of doubleheader against the Victoria Seals on August 3.

Prior did pitch in that game, throwing a scoreless frame while racking up his first strikeout.

Working his way back up to “the show” is where Prior wants to be, but for now small steps and getting batters out is his priority.

“I want to get back out there and get some competitive games under my belt,” said Prior.  “It’s been a few years with a couple shoulder surgeries.  I finally feel that I’m at a point now that I can go out, compete and get guys out, so that’s the first step.”

This article can also be found on The GM’s Perspective

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