Sunday, July 26, 2009

Is Martin Prado for real?

Martin Prado is hitting .320/.387/.489 on the season. His perfomance to date is almost a perfect replication of what he did for the Braves in 238 plate appearances in 2008, when he hit .320/.378/.461. Now that he's sustained this level of performance for a full season, we have to ask ourselves - is Martin Prado really this good?

In the minors, Prado demonstrated decent on-base skills but showed little in the way of power (.300/.353/.393 in 1,920 minor league at bats). But since being called up to the majors, Prado's slugging percentage has gone up nearly .070 points (.455 SLG% 560 MLB at-bats).

Prado's current 8.9% HR/Flyball seems sustainable enough. HitTracker lists three of Prado's homeruns as being of the "Just Enough" variety while just two were hit "Plenty" far, which might portend a mild dip in his slugging percentage. Aside from that, there's no other evidence to suggest that Prado is a flash in the pan.

Most metrics give his glovework at third base better reviews than at first base or second base so far this season. This may have interesting implications as Kelly Johnson returned from the DL in grand fashion on Sunday and Chipper Jones is often banged up. Still, Prado's profile as a strong on-base man with doubles power probably plays better long-term at second base than at third. It will be interesting to see how Bobby Cox manages this situation.

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