I’m not exactly sure where Martin Prado‘s 17 steals came from last year — he’d totaled just 13 in his prior four seasons — but you won’t find me complaining. It was great to see him get back to his .300+ average after a down .260 mark in 2011, and you can thank a return to Prado’s line-drive ways for that. In 2011 Prado’s line drive rate was just 14.6%. In 2010 and 2012 (when he batted .307 and .301, respectively), it was 21.0% and 22.8%, respectively.
Now in Arizona, Prado is slated to bat fifth instead of second like he did in Atlanta. That means we’ll need to change our run and RBI projections for him when our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide comes out on March 1, but overall they’ll most likely balance out.
At a Glance
Strengths: BA, OBP, CS
Neutral: R, HR, RBI, SB, SLG, OPS
Best-case scenario: Dustin Pedroia (BOS)
Likely scenario: Brandon Phillips (CIN), Eric Hosmer (KC), Howie Kendrick (LAA)
Worst-case scenario: Zack Cozart (CIN)
Martin Prado 2013 Fantasy Projection
The more I look at Prado’s prospects for 2013, the more I like him. He’s speedy enough to really benefit from sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Cody Ross batting behind him, and he hits for a high enough average with 40+ doubles and double-digit homers, which should yield a good number of RBI. Honestly, I might project Prado for something like 85 R, 13 HR, 85 RBI, 14 SB, .290 BA in our final, official projection. That line would be among the best in fantasy and probably border on top 50.
I’m most interested in Prado’s fly ball rate, though. Arizona’s park factor for homers to right-handed batters (114) is much better than Atlanta’s (85), so there’s a good opportunity for him to top his career high of 15 homers here. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Prado’s kept his ground ball rate pretty constant over the years with the extra line drives last year coming out of his fly ball rate. That means we’re probably looking at a fairly noticeable homer/batting average trade-off. That’s not all that uncommon, but it could be more pronounced in Prado’s case because his HR/FB rate is on the low side and extra fly balls will primarily mean extra fly outs.
Arizona has committed to him as a leader of their team going forward, and everything I’ve heard post-trade has been glowing about Prado, so I’m willing to gamble on him in a new role with a new team.