Pryor Makes His Case For A Shot In Seattle
SEATTLE—While plenty of attention is being focused on Double-A Jackson's starting staff, including high draft picks Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, there are other pitchers on the roster who could be making a mark in Seattle sooner rather than later.
One of those is Generals closer Stephen Pryor, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound righthander who brandished a 98 mph fastball in April, marshalling it into a 1-0, 1.20 record while going a perfect 7-for-7 in save tries.
"He's doing really well as a late-inning guy," farm director Chris Gwynn said. "He has real talent. I'm not saying he's going to be a closer, but he's definitely a back-of-the-bullpen type guy."
Pryor, 22, was the Mariners' fifth-round pick in 2010 out of Tennessee Tech. He came as advertized with a high-powered fastball, but from his early days at short-season Everett, it was clear that he was more than just a one-pitch pitcher.
"While his fastball is overpowering at times, he has a nice slider that he throws," Gwynn said. "And he likes to throw a cutter as well. And all three are effective."
It doesn't hurt that Pryor isn't a one-man band in the Jackson bullpen. Righthander Carter Capps, who has two saves and also throws in the 98-99 mph range, pitches in a short relief role and allows manager Jim Pankovits to split the load and let each man progress at his own pace without forcing the issue.
Even so, Pryor has been forcing the issue with his consistently overpowering performances.
"He's kind of getting there in terms of throwing all his pitches for strikes," Gwynn said. "There are some improvements he can make, but I'm fine with his command. He's been clocked as high as 98 mph, and the one thing we have to make sure is that he understands that he will need to use his other pitches at the next level."
The Mariners aren't putting any kind of timetable on Pryor making it to the big leagues because, as Gwynn said, "the player will let you know when he's ready."
• Catcher Adam Moore, who was hitting .303/.333/.455 for Triple-A Tacoma, had surgery on the medial meniscus in his right knee. Moore, who missed most of 2011 with a similar injury, could be back later this season.
• Third baseman Steve Proscia closed out April for high Class A High Desert by hitting safely in 12 of his final 13 games, averaging .373 for the stretch with four homers. Overall, he was hitting .340/.377/.570 in 100 at-bats.