Don’t Look Past Martin Prado on Draft Day

Let’s start this off by saying that the biggest aberration in terms of fantasy production that Martin Prado will probably ever have is his 2012 season. I would put a good deal of money on him never stealing 17+ bases again in his life.

For his career, aside from that season, he has not been an effective base stealer by any stretch of the imagination. That season he stole 17 bags and got caught just four times. People drafted Prado with the hope that his 2012 base stealing would continue into last season, his first in Arizona. The team ran him eight times but he stole just four bases, bad in standard leagues and worse in net stolen base leagues. I just wanted to preface my analysis of Prado by saying expecting anything more than a couple steals means you are drafting him with hope rather than expectations.

Back to the analysis. Martin Prado was really bad from March to July last season. He looked nothing like the Prado who produced consistent results in Atlanta, as he entered July with a .245/.295/.346 line. Keep in mind that this was his first time playing with a new team in his whole career and that it was his first time getting used to west coast pitching as well, and while that’s no excuse, it is a fact. It is impossible to determine how much, if any, that altered his performance but it is something to at least consider.

Once July hit Prado turned it back on and looked like the guy everyone was used to. He hit .319/.369/.487 with eight home runs in 333 plate appearances. Along with the power uptick was a tremendous amount of doubles power, as he hit 23 two-baggers in those 333 plate appearances. That’s a pretty solid number and I expect, given his home ballpark and the spacious west coast stadiums, I expect the doubles output to continue into his second season with Arizona. His home stadium is going to help him push homers over the fence and he could turn some of those doubles into homers.
As always, the big help with Prado is his positional flexibility. Being able to play second base is the big value add, but don’t scoff at being third base and outfield eligible as well. He basically gives you the ability to just draft him based on his hitting tools and fit him wherever you see fit.

Along with his positional flexibility comes his lineup flexibility. The season before last he was hitting leadoff in Atlanta, which was a reason they were willing to run him so much. His bat plays primarily like your standard two hitter, but the Diamondbacks were willing to use him in the middle of the lineup as a run produce for a good deal of last year – a big reason for his 82 RBI. This allows you to draft him based on what he does at the plate rather than what you expect out of his run production. If they decide the middle of the order is set they can hit him second and 80+ runs is almost a certainty in front of first round roto pick Paul Goldschmidt. If they hit him lower you can expect more RBI and less runs, but probably similar overall run production.

Prado’s hitting skills and control of the strike zone allow for consistent expectations. While he was inconsistent throughout the year, he did end up with solid numbers overall aside from the steals. Those who held onto him or better yet bought low on him during his rough stretch saw the dividends pay out on their patience. Yesterday I wrote about betting on consistency with Nick Swisher, today I am doing the same. Positional flexibility, a good ballpark, and the ability to adapt to whatever role he is put in lineup wise are reasons why Prado looks undervalued to me on draft day.

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Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.

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23 doubles in 33 plate appearances durnonio? very impressive


at least get his name right. its durnoniono, ya jackwad.