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13 Oct

Martin Prado (written by Sansho1)

2012 was a great bounceback year for Martin Prado, following a 2011 in which weakness from a staph infection and an overmatched batting coach gradually turned him from Bill Madlock into Mike Fontenot as the season wore on, and in which his predilection for self-sacrifice ballooned into full-fledged martyrdom, characterized by a seemingly endless string of two-hoppers to second. Frustrated onlookers began to wonder if this was the real Martin, finally finding the level that his lack of prospect status was supposed to doom him to all along. Instead, in ’12 Prado became:

  • the only player in the last 100 years to hit over .300 while starting at least three games in the outfield and at each (non-catcher) infield position.
  • other than Joey Votto and Ryan Braun, the only NLer to hit over .300 with at least 38 doubles in three of the last four seasons.

He was a plus defender by whatever yardstick you prefer to measure outfield defense (mine: eyeballs), went 17-for-21 in stolen base attempts, and even threw in a league-leading nine sacrifice flies (surely Martin’s personal favorite result). Perhaps most importantly, once Paul Janish’s helplessness at the plate could no longer be ignored, Prado extended the scope of his versatility to serving as Andrelton Simmons’ injury replacement at shortstop, where he played 92 innings of errorless and surprisingly rangy defense, and the team went 8-3 in his SS starts. Long story short, he was the team MVP this season, will deservedly crack the top 10 in NL MVP voting for a second time, and is as damned fine a ballplayer and teammate as you could want.

As Prado enters his final arb-eligible offseason, Chipper’s retirement leaves Martin the third-most senior Brave. His top three hitting comps on BBRef through age 28 are Jeff Cirillo, Tommy Holmes, and Tony Gonzalez – line drive hitters with low K rates and a broad set of offensive skills. They also all hit a wall around age 32, having no plus-plus attribute to compensate for the inevitable decline in reflexes. However, Prado’s well-known dedication to fitness, in addition to his positional flexibility, may help extend his value beyond what the actuarial tables surmise. I’ll leave the dollar value estimations to others, but there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to be a vital cog to a winning ballclub for the next three or four years.

73 Responses to “Martin Prado (written by Sansho1)”

  1. 1
    Coop Says:

    I hate the Cardinals too, but sometimes you just have to tip your cap.

    Martin rocks.

  2. 2
    Dan Says:

    If the Braves wanted to put someone cheap (Francisco or whoever) at third, keep Prado in left, fill center field cheaply and sign an ace such as Greinke, that would be alright.

    The Braves don’t need another pitcher, but they didn’t need one when they signed Maddux either. You can never have enough known high-quality pitching.

  3. 3
    kc Says:

    @2. I get your point but Greinke isn’t Maddux.

  4. 4
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Greinke’s an awfully good pitcher. You just have to accept the fact that he’s weird — and I don’t mean off the mound. He’s sort of like a better version of Javy Vazquez or Dan Haren: awesome components, up and down results.

  5. 5
    PaulV Says:

    Eric Hoffer “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” There are so many rude players that we hate, Nats, Giants and Yanks. Cards are not the rudest.

  6. 6
    PaulV Says:

    Memories from Yahoo of Braves success
    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/twenty-years-latersid-s-slide-and-the-fall-of-the-pittsburgh-pirates-still-stuns.html

  7. 7
    Adam M Says:

    I would rather have Greinke than any other player on the free agent market.

  8. 8
    Ray Says:

    Prado is awesome! Wren should give him a 5-year deal. I wouldn’t spend the money on starting pitching. Braves will be fine once Beachy comes back. Also, it’s time for Delgado and Teheran to show what the got.

  9. 9
    Anon21 Says:

    It’s a fairly weak free agent class. Greinke is probably the single best player on the market, but I just don’t know that he’s the guy the Braves should break the bank on. Maybe it’s better to leave the rotation alone (while pushing Hanson out in favor of Teheran or Delgado), move Martin to third, and patch over the outfield holes with cheapish guys like B.J. Upton and Scott Hairston (?) on short-term contracts, hoping to pull off some kind of blockbuster trade next year. I would like to see the Braves keep enough payroll headroom that they could sign a legitimately great player in 2014, when the market might be deeper.

  10. 10
    PeteOrr Says:

    @5 – The Cards responded quite rudely to the events of the wildcard game. Between that, Wainright’s jackass comments about the Braves before the game, the Molina brother’s asinine neck tattoo, and their inexplicable good fortune year after year, they can definitely hang out with Shane Victorino in the afterlife as far as I’m concerned. Screw that team.

    The Nats have a lot going on rudeness-wise between Werth and Harper, but you’ve got to have something extra to make it to the top of my hatred priority list, and Washington just doesn’t have it. To each his own sour grapes, however.

  11. 11
    PaulV Says:

    look at long term and sign some young players to longer term deals

  12. 12
    ububba Says:

    Yanks/Cards. Yanks/Giants. Tigers/Cards. Tigers/Giants.

    Well, we’ve never seen Tigers/Giants, so why not?

  13. 13
    Ray Says:

    @11 I second that

    @12 we all know the damn Yankees are gonna win the AL, especially since the A’s just had to win Game 4 so that Verlander won’t pitch before Game 3. Since I despise the Yankees of the last two decades and I don’t care much about the other three teams in any way I’m done with baseball for this year. I guess I have to check if there’s some synchronized swimming on somewhere… :(

  14. 14
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I can’t hate Harper. He has a chance to be the greatest sports heel of our time: freakishly talented, pompous but good enough to back it up, the guy who acts surprised that you’re mad he beat you. This could be great.

  15. 15
    ububba Says:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but the Nats don’t really bother me.

  16. 16
    Rusty S. Says:

    Harper’s triple last night was pure hustle. I don’t think there’s anyone in the majors that wouldn’t have been satisfied with a double on that. He’ll get old and tired of that stuff eventually, but I respect the way he plays the game.

  17. 17
    fm Says:

    Sam Holbrook, aka “Atlanta’s Least Favorite Son” (technically he was born and raised an infield popup away from the city limits, but that’s close enough), has been chosen to be an umpire for the ALCS.

  18. 18
    Coop Says:

    I like Harper, and would like him better were he a Brave.

    Thought Auburn had a shot for a while today, Bethany. Condolences.

  19. 19
    Bethany Says:

    @18 Any loss is a nail in Chizik’s coffin, so there is a sunny side to becoming the laughingstock of the SEC.

  20. 20
    Rusty S. Says:

    @17 – So, you’re telling me he was born in Chattanooga? :)

  21. 21
    PaulV Says:

    Lowe, $15M long man who cannot go long.

  22. 22
    fm Says:

    If Raul Ibanez hits another game-tying homer here…

  23. 23
    fm Says:

    Holy fucking shit.

  24. 24
    spike Says:

    Goddamit the Yankees have rigged this shit somehow.

  25. 25
    urlhix Says:

    unbelievable…

  26. 26
    fm Says:

    What is Ibanez ON???

  27. 27
    PaulV Says:

    Ball would have been an out most other places, even Philly.

  28. 28
    JonathanF Says:

    But the Tigers survive.

  29. 29
    fm Says:

    At least for tonight, all is well in the end.

  30. 30
    Dan Says:

    Ibanez is a True Yankee™.

  31. 31
    JonathanF Says:

    And Jeter’s ankle is broken.

  32. 32
    Ray Says:

    @31 Should be a good day, when this is the first news I read after getting up.

  33. 33
    PaulV Says:

    @31 Jeter has limited range. Yankees defense may get better.

  34. 34
    Seat Painter Says:

    Jeter is one of the only Yankees hitting well, so while the defense may get better, it sure isn’t going to help the offense to replace with with Jason Nix.

  35. 35
    Seat Painter Says:

    Hmm, I wonder how much we could get from the Tigers for O’Fleherty? I mean, they need a reliable bullpen arm.

  36. 36
    PaulV Says:

    Does anyone really want Swisher playing outfield for us?

  37. 37
    Bethany Says:

    @36 I don’t.

  38. 38
    PaulV Says:

    Much less ground to cover in Yankee Stadium and still Swisher’s range hurts him

  39. 39
    Adam M Says:

    I am strangely not happy to see Jeter hurt. I like it better when he’s in there.

  40. 40
    PaulV Says:

    Blame Ibanez. If game had not gone extra innings Jeter would not have been as out as Posey.

  41. 41
    JonathanF Says:

    The Yankees have a multi-Gold Glove multi-Allstar Shortstop at 3rd base with another pretty good 3rd baseman relegated to pinch hitting duty. If ARod is reslly worth his salary, he ought to be able to play shortstop for a couple of weeks. To return to the OP, Martin Prado could, and he makes a LOT less.

  42. 42
    Coop Says:

    Seeing the Yankees rally to tie and then lose in extra innings was wonderful. A Tigers-Giants World Series ain’t much, but it’s my best of poor alternatives.

  43. 43
    JonathanF Says:

    I should add, of course, that Girardi instantly announced he wouldn’t put ARod at SS. Ot’s not clear to me whether this is because he thinks ARod at SS would lower the chances of the Yankees winning or whether he is merely solicitous of the fragile psyche of a player he still owes more than $100 million to.

  44. 44
    fm Says:

    The Yankees are catching a bunch of flak for failing to sell out the last two postseason games.

  45. 45
    Adam R Says:

    It’s probably more about ARod’s hand injury/inability to hit at this point than whether he could field SS.

  46. 46
    Adam M Says:

    Well, they should take some flak for not selling out.

  47. 47
    spike Says:

    @39, me too, mainly because it will be the instant rationale when they go down, and this time, it will be a reasonable argument.

  48. 48
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Natinal fans crying. Derek Jeter broken. If we can get St. Louis to collapse into a gaping maw, dragging all of its godforsaken fan base to the depths of Hell where they will be flayed alive for eternity, we can call this a good weekend.

  49. 49
    Dan Says:

    Amen to that, Sam.

    The Cardinals took out the NL East from the postseason.

  50. 50
    Bethany Says:

    Yes, go Detroit, at this point.

  51. 51
    Adam R Says:

    @49, The NL East took out the NL East from the postseason.

    FTFY

  52. 52
    Bethany Says:

    WTF, Matt Ryan.

  53. 53
    Adam M Says:

    Matt Ryan has ruined my Sunday. Pathetic.

  54. 54
    Seat Painter Says:

    And in my NFL elimination pool, 7 of the 12 people left have picked the Falcons. I’d be chortling if I hadn’t swapped from the Cardinals to the Falcons on Friday.

    :(

  55. 55
    Scump Says:

    The Falcons cannot tackle.

  56. 56
    Brian J. Says:

    Fortunately, the Raiders have Carson Palmer, so it’s all good.

  57. 57
    Adam M Says:

    I’m wondering when all the euphoric Falcons fans start to notice the .323 win percentage of teams Atlanta has beaten. Something tells me that another embarrassment in the playoffs is coming.

  58. 58
    Nick Says:

    Well, we pretty well crushed Denver and San Diego, the two best teams we’ve faced. (We let Denver back in late.) We’ll find out more about the team after the bye week, as the schedule gets tougher.

  59. 59
    ububba Says:

    No style points in the NFL. Unlike college, a win really is a win.

    Nonetheless, it’s hard to watch the Falcons’ last 2 home games & believe that they’re the league’s best. And even if they were beating people by 2 TDs every week, any Falcon fan over, say, the age of 25 should know better than to invest any more enthusiasm than “very pleasantly surprised” at this point.

    Why? Like the Hawks, it always ends badly. I’m a Falcons fan, but when the inglorious end happens, I just can’t be gutted by the outcome.

    Yes, I remain scarred by this game:
    http://tinyurl.com/9h9qgmz

    “…and Atlanta has gone from euphoria to the pits of depression.”

    FWIW, I’m bummed Jeter got hurt. I’ve watched the guy for years & it’s hard for me to have anything but admiration for him.

  60. 60
    Adam M Says:

    I think I was fooled into thinking they were for real after the Chargers game, which was beautiful. But now I’ve got that old feeling–again. We’ll see where they’re at against better opponents after the bye week, but with the NFC South looking so wretched, it’s entirely possible for the Falcons to get a first-round bye all the while not playing elite football. I’d take the 49ers, Giants, and Bears over them right now.

  61. 61
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Our old friend K-Rod still likes punching people: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/brewers-rodriguez-arrested-last-month-234441402–mlb.html

  62. 62
    sansho1 Says:

    @59

    I’m gonna guess that’s the Danny White game.

    (clicks link)

    Sigh.

  63. 63
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Punching people is like kissing people. Sure, it’s fun, but you have to make sure it’s called for.

  64. 64
    Ray Says:

    Wow, what a horrible call at second. Umpire is like 3 feet away. Unbelievable.

  65. 65
    JonathanF Says:

    Horrible call, but Holbrook, I believe, is st first.

  66. 66
    fm Says:

    If the Giants can win Game 1, all will be well for tonight. Also, that’s a third consecutive non-sellout playoff game at Yankee Stadium.

  67. 67
    PaulV Says:

    Replacenent umps screw another team. They took a HR from McLouth and take it out on the Yanks. KARMA

  68. 68
    Stu Says:

    15—Same here. And I love Bryce Harper.

    36—Yes!!!

  69. 69
    Brian J. Says:

    66- All is not well. Damn Cardinals. Is there a Mr. Applegate in their front office?

  70. 70
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Screw the Cardinals. Not watching anymore MLB this year (unless Verlander is on the mound and the Tigers have a chance to finish off the Cards).

    Evan Gattis through 4 games in Venezuela: 16 ABs, 5 Hs (3 2Bs and 1 HR) = .368/.688/1.056.

    Gattis is the main reason I’d be hesitant to plug up left field with a multi-year contract, especially for someone expensive and for a longer term like Nick Swisher.

  71. 71
    c. shorter Says:

    Before the season even started, with all of the hype and the attitude I’d read in articles, I figured that Harper would be pretty easy to hate. Perhaps he still is. It’d sure be fun to have him play for your favorite team, though.

  72. 72
    ububba Says:

    I can see Swisher in Flushing next year, but probably not The Bronx.

    http://tinyurl.com/8w7bqzf

  73. 73
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New post.

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