Prado has gone from a non-prospect potential utility infielder to a regular fairly rapidly. Two years ago, nobody thought he would be here, but after tearing up the league for much of 2009 the Braves gave him the second base job and let Kelly Johnson go. Despite last season, it’s not definitively clear that Prado is a better player than Johnson, but he really hasn’t done anything but hit since he made the majors. Prado’s career batting line is .307/.360/.451, and last year he hit almost exactly that, .307/.358/.464. It’s very much a batting average-driven sort of offense, something of which I’m not really fond, and it’s reliant upon a .336 career batting average on balls in play.
Prado resembles Matt Diaz in a way, and like Diaz does a lot of his damage against lefthanders, against whom he hit .301/.392/.531, with six of his eleven homers (in about half as many PA as against righthanders). Like Diaz, he hits for a high average against righthanders, but with less power and fewer walks. Given the Braves’ normal problems last year with lefties, that wasn’t a big concern, but might be this year.
I have been relentlessly critical about Prado’s defense, but he was pretty much average at second base last year (by range factor and plus/minus, the two things I usually look at). He does make some comical mistakes still, but those aren’t a big deal in the big picture. He’s a pretty good third baseman, but probably won’t play there any in 2010… Terrible baserunner, last year at any rate, slow (1 of 4 SB attempts, no triples) and while not too prone to getting thrown out, one of the many Braves who seemingly couldn’t score from second on a single, much less first on a double.