This is Bill James. We’re going to be examining Mr. James’ projections for most of the everyday Braves’ on the 2012 club. Today we’ll take a look at Martin Prado. All projection data gathered from the fine folks at FanGraphs.
Bill James 2012 Martin Prado Projection:
144 Games Played, 515 AB, 149 hits, 32 doubles, 2 triples, 11 HR, 72 runs, 56 RBI, 38 BB, 61 K, 4 SB, .289 AVG, .339/.423/.762
You look at the numbers projected for Prado combined with the fact that he’s clearly been dangled all off-season. One might wonder why he would be available.
Prado is entering his age 28 season and coming off a season in which he hit just .260 and was banged up. James doesn’t look at Prado as a candidate whose numbers are likely to jump–at least not back to the levels they were previous to 2011’s .302/.385/.687 lines that everyone would like to forget about.
The thought with the Braves might be that the best juice has been squeezed from this lemon and it’s time to move on while there is still some guns and butter value for Prado. That’s how front office people think. This piece of farm equipment has some depreciation on it now–not a lot–but it there are multiple other pieces of equipment laying around the farm that can replace this equipment’s workload (Delmon Young for instance, is expected to produce at an identical clip).
In summary, Prado’s numbers will improve and his BABIP should return closer to it’s normal levels. However, it’s likely that the best baseball has already been played by the Braves left fielder and it’s best to get some return on him while you still can. It isn’t like we’re talking about a generational talent here in Prado, but rather a guy who carried some of the yeoman’s weight at the top of the Braves lineup unexpectedly for a few seasons.
The Braves have options here. They can play Prado in left field in 2012 and get some decent production, or they can pair him with another player like Jair Jurrjens and flip him for a talent like Adam Jones if they can get a team that buys into Prado’s relative value.
Either way, expect a steady 2012 from Prado and a decent return to form.