Martin Prado has been one of the most versatile and underrated players in baseball over the past few seasons. He’s kind of like the National League version of Ben Zobrist, except with a better batting average. He’s played all over the field, helping the Braves when they’ve needed to fill a hole. Take a look at his games played break down:
1B: 4G, 4GS
2B: 9G, 7GS
3B: 23G, 18GS
SS: 9G, 7GS
OF: 107G, 100GS
He’s eligible at four positions and with one more start at first will have the five pack. While that’s all fine and dandy, I’m most interested in his shortstop eligibility. Before this season he hadn’t played there since 2008, and that was only for 15 innings. He’s been thrust into action with Andrleton Simmons out since July with a hand injury, sharing duties with Paul Janish. With Simmons due back Prado will go back to his normal spot in left field, but that added eligibility will have an impact on his fantasy value for next season.
The crop of elite shortstops is usually thin, and might get thinner if Derek Jeter ever slows down. Adding Prado to the mix beefs things up considerably. According to Yahoo! he’d currently be the sixth ranked shortstop and fifth ranked second basemen. Entering the season Prado was only left field and third base eligible. Picking up two, and possibly three, positions is a huge jump. His bat wouldn’t play as well at first base but his stock rises considerably if placed at one of the up the middle infield positions. One of the more versatile real life players has finally brought that over to the fantasy realm.
When Jed Lowrie went down with a leg injury in July Houston’s shortstop duties were taken over by Marwin Gonzalez. That experiment failed as he’s hit .234/.280/.328 this season and tore a ligament in his left ankle in a freak injury two weeks ago. Before the injury he had been spending more time at third base anyway thanks to the Astros trading for Tyler Greene on August 9th. Since the trade Greene has started nearly every game at short. His average and on base percentage (.229/.274) are actually worse than those of Gonzalez, but he’s slugging an even .400 on the season, and .458 in his time with the Astros.
In other words, he’s not making much contact (the 29.5% K rate shows that) but he’s doing damage when he does. Over the past 30 days he has six home runs and five doubles in 29 games. In 33 games spanning June and July he totaled exactly one extra base hit. He’s always shown decent power in the minor leagues (~15 HR) but that hadn’t come to light at the major league level until this season. His career Isolated Slugging coming into the season was under .100 in 359 plate appearances.
He’s owned in less than five percent of leagues. If you’re looking for a cheap source of power from an unlikely source and position in the stretch run, especially in very deep mixed or NL only leagues, Greene may be your man.