Stephen Pryor got a much-deserved promotion to Triple-A Tacoma after impressing the Seattle Mariners with his work this year. Pryor had been pitching at Double-A Jackson, where he went 1-0 with 7 saves and a paltry ERA of just 1.13 over 16 innings of work.
I think it is almost at the point where the Mariners have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to pitching in their minor league system. There isn't another team in baseball that is as deep in the minors as the Mariners', which certainly raises the level of expectations about how well this team should do by 2014 or 2015.
I got to see Pryor pitch a little bit during spring training this year, but he only pitched one official inning. He walked a batter and struck out two others, showing the talent that he has to simply blow away hitters. During Monday's Mariners game (May 7), Mike Blowers was talking about how Pryor was reaching 100 mph out of the bullpen in Jackson. I love hearing numbers like that, because the Mariners have never had a closer that simply went out there and blew hitters away.
Looking harder at the numbers that Pryor put up at Double-A this season, it's amazing to note that he allowed just 7 hits in his 16 innings of work. That's simply an unbelievable statistic, showing just much better he was than most of the hitters at that level. He also struck out 24 batters in those 11 games, leading to a .125 batting average against him. If he can get anywhere close to those numbers at his next two stops, Pryor could seriously become a hot commodity in the Seattle bullpen.
I am a fan of Brandon League, but with the life-expectancy of closers being so low in baseball, I am really glad that Pryor is coming along so well. His success brings up another question though, because it takes away some of the value that Chance Ruffin could have had with the big club. Maybe the pair will start shutting down opponents in the eighth and ninth innings for the Rainiers and lead to the Mariners promoting them both at the same time in September.
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*Ryan is a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan who never misses an opportunity to attend a game at Safeco Field. He has been attending games since 1985, and has fond memories of The Kingdome, Edgar Martinez, and the historic 1995 team. Sodo Mojo!
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