I have been extremely pumped to write Prado’s season check up piece, but decided it would be better to start off with Michael Bourn, seeing as how he is the catalyst to the offense and he will be the most talked about player on the team as the season rolls on. Brian McCann would have been a good choice to do second as well, but I have to go with the Braves leading WAR player, and my favorite Brave, Martin Prado.
Prado has quietly been going off for the Braves and is 7th in all of baseball in fWAR with 2.6. His numbers are a lot closer to 2010 than 2011 with a triple slash of .316/.394/.481. For those of you who were wondering whether or not it would be a good idea to trade Prado, I hope you realize now that it was smart to hold on to him.
2011 was not the season that we should expect of Martin, and he is doing everything he possibly can to make that obvious in 2012.
Clearly Prado was injured last year, which affected every aspect of his game but what is the most exciting thing in my opinion about Martin in 2012 is his BB% and K%.
For his career Prado has a 6.9% BB rate and 11.3% K rate. This year Prado is walking at a higher rate than he ever has in his career (the highest other year with at least 100 AB’s is 8.3% in 2008) while keeping his strikeout numbers around where they normally are. This is definitely a good thing, as Prado has always been the kind of player to rely solely on a high average to be valuable and if the trend continues we could find ourselves with an extremely productive player.
Like Michael Bourn, Prado also has an extremely high LD% right now. 25.7% is easily the best mark he has ever put up and more than 6 points higher than his career average of 19.4%. I expect that number to drop a bit as the season goes on, but I have to wonder if the Greg Walker/Scott Fletcher approach is helping hitters be more selective and patient, increasing the both line drive and walk rates.
So far it seems to be the case, as both Bourn, and Prado have higher than normal LD, and BB rates but they are also the two hottest hitters on the team right now. We will have to go through more of the players to really find out the effect Walk n’ Fletch are having on the team.
Back to Martin Prado though, he is having a great start to a comeback season, and his numbers are looking as good as Adam Jones’. If you don’t remember the Braves and Orioles were talking about a trade that involved Prado and Jones, but the teams couldn’t agree on anything and valued their players more highly than people thought they should. Turns out both teams made smart decisions to hold onto their respective players.
Jones may have the edge over Prado in the power and speed categories, but Martin has much better BB and K rates as well as the ability to play pretty much anywhere on the field.
So, the Prado everyone loves is back in the Ted and hopefully will be manning the hot corner in 2013 next year. He is a good defender in left field, but really deserves to have an every day job in the infield where he is better defensively (at least at third), and his bat profiles much better as well.