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Taking A Look At The New D'backs

I’ve done several posts about my opinion of Justin Upton and how he was treated by the Diamondbacks management and front office. So instead of re-hashing everything I already have written before, I’ll just shamelessly plug those articles again here, here and here.

But I also can’t just ignore the potential franchise-changing deal the D’backs just pulled off when they sent Upton to Atlanta. So how about we take a look at the pieces the Diamonbacks got in return.

The biggest piece is of course Martin Prado. I strangely found myself disparaging Prado right after the deal was announced. I say strangely because I’ve long been a Prado supporter. I thought he was underrated for quite some time with the Braves. However, he’s not good enough to be the centerpiece of a deal involving Upton. That is why I found myself citing Prado’s flaws instead of his strengths on Twitter.

Prado has always been a good OBP and doubles hitter. He is versatile on defense allowing his team to use him in several different aspects – he played every single infield position (minus pitcher and catcher) plus left field in 2012 alone for the Braves. He’s a good piece for a contending team.

Much of his versatility will be lost in Arizona, though. With a crowded outfield, and Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt entrenched at second and first respectively, Prado will undoubtedly be penciled into third base for the entire season. If that’s the case, he will lose much of the value that he had with the Braves.

Prado has hit double-digit home runs in each of the past four seasons but has never eclipsed more than 15 and has never had above a .464 Slugging.

Long story short, I like Prado. I think he’s a good player that can provide a boost to the third-base position. He’s just not quite the type of player that many made him out to be after the deal went down.

Now for the other players in the deal. The D’backs received starting pitcher Randall Delgado, pitching prospect Zeke Spruill and infield prospects Nick Ahmed and Brandon Drury.

Delgado is the lone player out of those four to have seen any time in the big leagues so far in his career

Delgado has thrown 127.2 innings over the last two seasons for the Braves. In that stint, he has a 3.95 ERA and a 1.363 WHIP. His main problem has been control. He’s walking just under four batters per nine innings while only striking out 6.6 per nine. Those numbers don’t usually translate to a ton of success. For Delgado to become a top of the rotation guy, he has to either cut down on the walks or come closer to the 9 K/9 number he had in the minors. Most likely, he’s a number four or five guy in a rotation with an above four ERA.

Spruill was a second-round pick in 2008 for the Braves and spent all of 2012 in Double-A Mississippi. He had a 3.67 ERA there and a 1.262 WHIP. Spruill’s upside is limited by his low k-rate – he only struck out 106 batters in 161 innings pitched. Spruill was ranked as the Braves ninth-best prospect on Dec. 10.

Ahmed was a second-round pick by the Braves in 2011 so he only has a year and a half of minor league ball under his belt. He spent all of 2012 in high-A Lynchburg in the Carolina League. He played 128 games at shortstop and served as a DH in two more.

Ahmed, like the other shortstop prospect the D’backs acquired this offseason Didi Gregorius, is a glove-first prospect. He tallied a .269/.337/.391 slash mark with Lynchburg in 2012 but was named the best defensive infielder in the Braves’ system by Baseball America. Ahmed will most likely start 2013 with high-A Visalia Rawhide.

Finally, Drury is sort of a throw in to the deal. He was drafter in the 13th round of the 2010 draft and spent all of 2010 and 2011 in rookie ball. He moved up to Single-A Rome in the South Atlantic League. He played all over the place in 2012, seeing the bulk of his games at first and third but appeared in two games at second and another at short. He’s referred to as a third-base prospect, though. He struggled at the plate in 2012, though. He hit .229 with an awful .270 OBP and an even worse .333 slugging percentage. For a guy that projects at a corner infield spot, he better hit better than that quickly.

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Tags: Aaron Hill Atlanta Braves Brandon Drury Braves Didi Gregorius Justin Upton Justin Upton Trade Martin Prado Nick Ahmed Paul Goldschmidt Randall Delgado Zeke Spruill

  • Tom Lynch

    No such thing as a shamless plug:)
    I agree with you 100% on Prado. He is a nice player to have when you are winning but he is not a guy that can carry a team like Upton.
    Getting Ahmed sort of means trading Bauer was almost pointless.

  • Jeremy Dougherty

    I keep hearing about how we didn’t get “enough” for Upton but he wasn’t the best player on the team in 2012. Not even in the top 3. He wasn’t carrying the team at any point in 2012 so Prado doesn’t have to either. If Prado has another year he just did it’s still better than what Upton puts up, unless he finally comes into that magical “potential” we’ve heard about for the last half decade. In all the hype over Justin Upton some great ballplayers in Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero are consistently overlooked. All three were more productive than Upton this season and all three can repeat or improve on what they have done, and likely to do so. So while Upton may have been the great promise of the future, he wasn’t the winning formula for the present. Nor did he carry this team. He was great at times and I hate seeing him go but the other players on the team deserve more credit than they are getting and a lot of media reports (not necessarily this one) are talking like all the “power” is gone from the lineup. What power? An occassional bomb from Upton every other month? The season isn’t suddenly lost because we just sent away a .280 hitter who fills in a #3 in the lineup but can’t knock in more than 67 RBI’s while striking out on an outside fastball looking…over…and over…and over again.

    If people can look past the potential and realize we have ballplayers that can produce and win TODAY, I think they’d be a bit more optimistic than the first reports and message boards have been since this trade. Depth in the minors is a great thing. Depth on the 40 man roster is a great thing. Having a depleted farm system with no starting pitching, bullpen or offense would be a bad thing and we are not in danger of any of those.

    Because of the moves KT has made, as unpopular as they may be right now. We’ll have to see in several years if he’s a genius or a failure. Call me a fan of blind faith and undying loyalty but I see this team as an improvement on many levels capable of a lot more than people want to give them credit for. But that’s fine, we’ll just sneak up on the Giants and blow past the Dodgers. I really look forward to that moment.

    I’m sticking behind KT on this one and re-upping my season tickets.

    Go Dbacks and best of luck to Upton in Atlanta!

    • Barry Swindler

      As a Braves fan I am sure to regret writing this almost immediately, because of karma and such, but when has Prado ever put up 30 hr? Or more than 15 for that matter? He’s also only scored more than 60 runs twice in his career. His avg and obp may be higher than Justin’s, but they aren’t so high that it makes a huge difference. We aren’t talking Tony Gwynn to Mendoza here, we are looking at a .300 hitter versus a .280. Not to mention Prado has been out performed in everything but ba and obp WHILE playing in a ball park and division that favors hitters WAYYYYYYY more than you guys. Not to mention Upton’s Silver slugger award, finishing fourth in MVP two years ago, two all-star games, and is just now 25, which is the beginning of that magical 5 year time period when young outfielders supposedly start hitting their prime.

      Once you take all that, and add the potential Chris Johnson has to be an Adam Dunn type hitter, with about 2/3 of the numbers (in the future, not this season) then yes, you got hosed. And it’s more to do with the fact that Prado is just a third baseman to you guys, where he was the left side of our team. It hurts, I know, but the numbers are there. Blame it on the fact that Gibson is an extremely intense style manager, and Justin has that calm confidence to him. Blame it on the fact that Justin has an attitude problem and Gibson don’t take no crap off nobody. However you try to justify it, you guys took pennies on the dollar to get him off your roster and bring in a likable hispanic player that will fit in BEAUTIFULLY with your team personality wise.

      BTW, have fun watching Delgado pitch, his ball moves more than a plastic bag in a wind storm. I’m going to miss both of them a lot.

      Good luck to you guys this up coming season, and take care of MVPrado for us…

      Oh, and y’all may over look aaron hill and goldschmidt and montero, but y’all would be the only ones who do. Anyone who watches baseball on a regular basis knows the talent you guys have on this roster wasn’t limited to Justin Upton. He was just the lead singer.

      • Jeremy Dougherty

        Good post Barry. My reasoning is more in that everyone puts this massive price tag on Upton but he hasn’t produced to justify it. He’s a incredibly talented player that in five years hasn’t shown it consistently. It’s there somewhere but how long do you wait before you are left with a BJ Upton and $14 million a year burning a hole in your already limited payroll means? I never wanted to let him go because I’m definitely worried he is going to crush 40 homers this year. I hope he does actually, as long as Prado produces all year and Delgado is solid. But we won’t know who got hosed for a several years from now. If Delgado goes on to be a reliable innings eater and Prado signs and puts in several good seasons while just one of the prospects pan out…then it’s probably a good deal. Unless Upton goes on to win four MVP’s…in which case we’re grabbing the pitchforks and torches and chasing down KT! :)

        • Barry Swindler

          HA when I heard the news about the BJ signing, I said outloud GREAT we got another Andruw Jones! (Not in a good way) The prospects you got are supposedly a SP who will eventually get a shot at the pros but a back end starter, a very good shortstop prospect (like y’all needed another one!) who is known for his glove and not his bat, and a first baseman that we got tired of waiting to blossom. This is according to the report I heard from a minor league “expert” on the baseball tonight pod cast.

          One thing you have to remember about Justin is he was playing with a hurt thumb from the onset of the season, which would cause a power hitter problems, and put up typical numbers after the all-star break. While I do hope he is a 4 time MVP, I think, as a Braves fan, we can expect 30 hr, 80 runs, 90 RBI and right around a .290/.390/.490 split for the next couple of years, which would more than replace Prado as a left fielder. We do, however still have a gaping hole at third with his departure, and we did lose Delgado, that while others say he will be an inning eater and a serviceable MLB pitcher, basically a #3 guy is what i’ve heard pegged as his future, I think this kid could be a 1-2 guy as he develops. I’ve got nothing to back that up on other than my extensive knowledge of being wrong about A LOT of pitchers in my day. (Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Paul Schmidt, just to name a few).

          Still, good article, and a fresh point of view never hurts

  • Noah Dougherty

    Good breakdown of the players here J Levi.
    Funny thing about Drury’s slash line: .229/.270/.333 is it’s eerily similar to our starting shortstops numbers from last year: Pennington: .215/.278/.311