Found May 23, 2012 on Fox Sports South:
Natsbraves_c08d
Martin Prado is in the perfect place. The guy in front of him is hitting .323 and knows what to do when he reaches first. Michael Bourns 13 steals are tied for second in the NL. And the guy behind him is becoming one of the leagues top run producers. Freddie Freeman has taken over the No. 3 spot in the Braves order, and his 32 RBIs are tied for third in the league. In between, theres Prado, perfectly content hitting second. Bourn is usually on base and Freeman looms behind, leaving Prado to quietly do what he does best, which is roping line drives all over the field, moving runners and stoking rallies. Prado is proving that 2011 not 2010 was the fluke. A year after a staph infection caused him to miss more than a month and hitting up and down a lineup that was inconsistent most of last season, Prado is batting .315 this year. Hes already put together a 10-game hitting streak and hes had at least one hit in 12 of his past 14 games. After hitting .271 in April, Prado is flourishing in May. Hes hitting .364 this month, with a home run, eight RBIs and three steals. His teammates have said all along that Prado isnt a .260 hitter, which is what he hit last season. Hes proving them right. Hes showing that hes more like the guy who banged out 184 hits and scored 100 runs and had an .809 OPS in his breakout NL All-Star season of 2010. Prado is eighth in the NL in hits with 51 and has already driven in 21 runs. Hes also played in 42 of the Braves 44 games. People who know baseball, people who watch baseball on a consistent basis, if you dont think Martin Prado is a star in this league, in my opinion youre not watching the right things, catcher Brian McCann told AJC.com last week. The guy is everything you could possibly want in a baseball player. Last year he got a staph infection and was out for seven weeks. Thats not easy to do. Thats seven weeks not seeing pitches, then coming back, and everyones expecting him to hit .320 or .330. Its hard to do that. Aside from his consistent ability to win battles against major league pitchers, Prado admittedly has gotten a boost from Bourns strong start and his distracting presence on the bases. With Bourn dancing off first and threatening to steal second, pitchers are faced with a dilemma. Do they feed Prado a steady stream of fastballs, which will make it easier for their catchers to catch and release to try to throw out Bourn? Or do they nitpick with Prado, hoping that theyll be able to outwit him and still manage to keep Bourn from swiping second. And if the pitchers play around, make mistakes and rush their deliveries, and both Bourn and Prado reach, it provides more opportunities for Freeman, who has become the Braves most consistent RBI guy. Prado is hitting .328 with 19 RBIs with runners on base, opposed to .308 with two RBIs with the bases empty. The more Im around Prado, the more I grow to respect his professionalism and desire to be the best hitter possible. He has a quiet intensity and a determined passion thats reflected in his approach at the plate. Hes also grown into a more than competent left fielder and a better than average third baseman, even though second base probably remains his best position. The addition of Juan Francisco has helped reduce the temptation to play Prado at third. In fact, he has only 16 at-bats as a third baseman this season, compared to 142 when hes starting in left. Hes also hit second in the lineup all season after hitting leadoff, second, third, sixth and seventh in 2011. Prado has found his comfort zone. I have a feeling hell stay there.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Braves' Ross, McCann pose big off-season questions

The Atlanta Braves have a 2013 option on catcher Brian McCann, which they will pick up. But things get tricky after that. McCann was scratched from the lineup with flu-like symptoms Wednesday against the Reds, the second consecutive day that's happened. He hasn't had his usual year at the plate, although he is batting .324 (11 for 34) in his last nine games since May 11...

Braves bullpen pelt ball boy with sunflower seeds after botched play

Who knew the Braves bullpen was so ruthless? OK, the players down in the Atlanta pen were just having some fun on Monday night, but it came at the expense of the Tampa Bay Rays ball boy stationed along the third-base line. The ball boy couldn't field a groundball cleanly, and the Braves bullpen let him have it. The pitchers could be seen laughing, taunting him and even throwing...

Jerseys Off Our Backs Auction

You can win an game-used Braves jersey... if you have the top bid. The Braves are auctioning off the jerseys actually worn by the players during the upcoming June 15 game against the Orioles, with proceeds going to the Atlanta Braves Foundation. Auctions fascinate me, and I'm always curious about how players are valued, so I made a spreadsheet that you might find interesting...

Drew Sutton traded to Rays

Drew Sutton has been traded to Tampa Bay for ptbnl or cash. — Kristy Robinson (@Kristy_Robinson) May 21, 2012   It was over before it ever started. Just yesterday, the Pirates acquired Drew Sutton from Atlanta for cash. He now has been traded to Tampa Bay for a player to be named later or cash. I would assume that it is going to be for a player, because if not, it means the Pirates...

Braves bullpen taunts Rays ballboy for booting grounder

For all you New York fans wondering what ever happened former-Mets starter Livan Hernandez— well, he's throwing balls for the Atlanta Braves bullpen and picking on opposing team's ballboys for fun. During Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the 37-year old Hernandez tossed what looked like a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds at a ballboy after the youngster...

Braves bullpen throws sunflower seeds at ball boy after he boots grounder (video)

Your browser does not support iframes. A couple days late on this video, but it’s far too amusing to pass up briefly mentioning it. One of the more important responsibilities of a ball boy at work in a major league ballpark is to ensure the safety of members of both teams’ bullpens if those bullpens [...]

NL East Quarter Report Card

Atlanta BravesHitters: A. The Braves team OPS has risen from .695 last year under old hitting coach Larry Parrish to .737 this year under brand new hitting coach Greg Walker. The major improvements include Michael Bourn, in a career year, posting an .815 OPS with three homers and 13 stolen bases, and Martin Prado, fully healthy this year and OPSing .864 behind Bourn at the top of...

Minor allows four solo homers in Braves' loss

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Right-hander Mike Leake hit his first career homer -- part of three solo shots in a row by the Cincinnati Reds -- and allowed only two hits over eight innings Monday night for a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves. Drew Stubbs hit two of the career-high four homers allowed by Atlanta starter Mike Minor (2-4). All the runs scored on solo homers at one of the majors...

John Smoltz tries his hand at weather forecasting (Video)

Retired Atlanta Braves ace John Smoltz attempted a weather forecast during a recent appearance on The Weather Channel, covering the weather for some baseball cities. Smoltz took a serious take on his weather forecast, unlike Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland, who goofed around while doing a local weather forecast in Texas back in December. Smoltz got some tips from...

John Smoltz: Baseball legend, TV Analyst and attempted weather dude

Yeah, it's as goofy as you'd think that it would be. But it is an athlete, albeit a now former one trying to do what people at the Weather Channel do for a living; forecast the weather. Smoltz was a guest on the Your Weather Today morning show shot in the metro Atlanta area. In this video, the former ace pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and current game analyst for TBS...

Bourn homers twice, Braves fall short to Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Brandon Phillips drove in three runs with a pair of homers off Brandon Beachy on Tuesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves in another game of all-or-nothing. Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart also homered off Beachy (5-2) as the Reds got the best of another high-powered game. The teams have combined for 10 homers in the two...

SI.com Power Rankings: Nationals Second; Phillies Ahead of Braves

This is interesting.   The latest power rankings of MLB teams on SI.com lists the Phillies a stunning FIFTH in major league baseball.   Granted, they do not factor in the last two losses to the Washington Nationals, but if the Nationals really are that high - ranked second - , maybe it won't matter. Also surprising - the Atlanta Braves with a .619 winning percentage are ranked...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.